By John M. Wylie II, Editor and Publisher
America is supposed to be a land where citizens right now have enormous interest in taking control of their government.
You sure wouldn’t know it by the last two elections in the Oologah-Talala School District.
If there is a pre-eminent institution in Northwest Rogers County, it is our school.
For those promoting this area as a place to live or locate a business, the school is the top selling point.
We came here in 1984 because of it, and we believe it has gotten better with each passing year. If you don’t believe it, check our front page every week.
Some people think our school may be too good, although because of Northeastern Station we have an extraordinary facility despite remarkably low property taxes.
Still, there are those who say they want even lower taxes.
If they wanted a say in the management of the school, they could have voted last month in the school board election.
But only 8.16 percent of the almost 6,000 registered voters in the district bothered to cast a ballot.
Still, that looks good compared to Tuesday’s vote, which had a direct bearing on taxes.
Voters were asked to say yea or nay to $400,000 for new school buses and Suburbans to transport our students. The new vehicles would replace units which were older than some district parents—22 to be exact.
This time, only 315 people took the trouble to vote even though it was a sunny early spring day. That’s a miserable 5.26 percent of the registered voters.
We can almost guarantee that some folks will gripe when they see the front page headline saying that the transportation bonds passed overwhelmingly.
And we’re almost as certain that some of the loudest complainers didn’t vote.
It isn’t as if there weren’t plenty of chances.
People could have voted absentee. Only eight chose that option.
They could have voted Friday or Monday at the Election Board (a process officially called in-person absentee voting). Only nine folks did that.
The remaining 298 visited their polling places. That’s not very many people—several Oologah restaurants probably serve at least that many every day.
And where were the district’s remaining 5,678 registered voters? We don’t know, but we do know they weren’t voting.
Next month there is an election for a seat on the Oologah Town Board. Oologah is growing and involved in many major projects right now. If residents in the city limits want a voice in local government, here’s their chance.
We hope they do better than their counterparts in the school district.
Sadly, that won’t be hard. The bar has been set awfully low.