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What's on the ballot for the January 9th election in Oklahoma

'Vote here" sign outside of a polling station.
StateImpact Oklahoma
'Vote here" sign outside of a polling station.

Voters in 18 Oklahoma counties will head to the polls Tuesday to decide the fate of technology center expansions, police and fire department budgets and more.

Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

To see if there's anything on your ballot, visit the state's voter portal.

The High Plains Technology Center could soon add students from Beaver County.

Voters will choose if Beaver County will be annexed into the tech center’s district during next week’s round of elections.

Oklahoma Panhandle State University is the only source of post-secondary education in the panhandle. The upcoming vote on the county proposition could add another institution. If the proposition passes, there will be a penny tax levy for general operations and 2 mills for building fund operations via a property tax increase.

Barclay Holt, High Plain Technology Center’s superintendent, said people in the county will not be taxed until the end of December, but the center will begin programs this fall.

In addition to hiring more personnel in the county, Holt’s institution will grow its existing bilingual services if the proposition passes. Oklahoma’s Hispanic population is growing and almost 26% of Beaver County’s population identifies as Hispanic or Latino.

Holt said he is eager to know the election’s outcome because the center must prepare for incoming students if the proposition passes.

“But probably more than anything, I guess, is what drives most everybody in education is you get excited for people to be able to have other opportunities, learn, get better educated,” Holt said. “So, that makes me get up every morning anyway.”

Like some other parts of western Oklahoma, Beaver County is not in a CareerTech center district. Rep. Kenton Patzkowsky (R-Balko) helped coordinate the possibility of bringing Beaver County into the technology center’s district.

He said the area has experienced a recent population decline and the state needs more workers.

“Well, my hope is that this career initiative passes,” Patzkowsky said. “I’m not looking for a quick fix at all, but I’m looking for additive educational opportunities.”

Grove public safety vote

Voters in Grove will head to the polls for the second time in the last four months to vote on the future of its police and fire department stations.

In September, voters rejected a property tax increase that would’ve helped fund new stations for its public safety departments at the total cost of $16.5 million. This time, voters will decide on a potential sales tax increase instead.

In a news release, Grove’s City Council wrote that it believes the new approach “is a better way to fund the facilities, because everyone who shops in Grove will help pay for the facilities instead of the burden being put ONLY on the property owners who reside within the city limits.”

Oakdale Public Schools

Voters living within the Oakdale Public School district will decide on an $11.5 million bond package.

The small school district serves a section of the eastern part of the Oklahoma City metro and Edmond. If the bond measure passes, it will pay for security upgrades, new HVAC systems and more.

Voters can learn more about this election by visiting their local election board or by seeing a sample ballot on their voter portal via the State Election Board website.

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Anna Pope is a reporter covering agriculture and rural issues at KOSU as a corps member with Report for America.
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