The committee charged with drumming up support for the Oklahoma City bond issue, which will be voted on next Tuesday (mark your calendars), has already sent me two flyers; what’s more, I got a phone call suggesting that since the weather is expected to be ghastly next week I might consider filling out a ballot early under the absentee procedures. Each of these reminders, you may be sure, mentioned that there is no tax increase involved, which is more or less true: the existing millage will be continued for eight years or so, but it won’t go up.
On the other hand, when there is a tax increase involved, you might not hear about the election at all:
Northeast Tech Center (you may know this better as NE Vo-Tech) has a 400% tax increase on the ballot in Rogers County, but they don’t want anyone to know about it.
Thanks to the watchful eyes of the Oologah Lake Leader, we do know about it.
From the Leader’s story:
The NTC board voted on Oct. 1 to call the election but issued no public notice until Nov. 28, school spokesman Gary Fox confirmed Tuesday.
The only announcement made last week was a legal notice in the Pryor Daily Times the smaller of the two legal newspaper in Mayes county. Neither it nor its larger weekly competitor, The Paper, makes any claim to be a regional newspaper (such as the Tulsa World or The Oklahoman).
By law, NTC is required to publish a notice in a newspaper “of general circulation in Northeast Technology Center School District No. 11.”
And why did they keep this quiet?
Monday just eight days before the election and after the deadline for some newspapers in the district the school issued a press release to some news organizations.
That statement did not disclose the amount of money the tax increase would generate, $4.4 million, or that the largest payment $1.8 million would come from Rogers County. The figures were provided to the Leader Tuesday following a written request.
The statement also did not disclose that the increase represented a 400 percent increase in the building levy, from 1 mill to 5 mills. That means that the tax from this one levy on a $200,000 house would jump from about $20 to $100 a year.
I am normally a serious supporter of vocational education, but I have to hope that this measure the election is Tuesday goes down in flames, and that it takes some of the NTC higher-ups with it.