Posted Monday, March 02, 2015
Good afternoon! Tomorrow is a very big day for the future of Tulsa Public Schools. We have tasked the voters of Tulsa with deciding on the largest bond issue ever in TPS history.
The $415 million bond includes plans for a centralized STEM center for the district, replacing 80 of our 120 portable buildings with permanent additions, storm shelters in 20 buildings and plans to give EVERY TPS student one-to-one access to a computer or tablet. This will provide unprecedented access to technology at all grade levels to help students become successful. We have made significant gains in replacing old technology, but both teachers and parents have said they want one device per child. This is why $110 million of the bond is earmarked for technology.
The STEM center for all students to use will cost about $4.5 million. This facility will be for all school to utilize so that all students can have access to the same Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics related curricula. STEM is quickly becoming a very important field of study, and preparing tomorrow's workforce for those occupations is vital for the future. The centralized STEM center will allow Tulsa Public Schools to prepare students for these challenges. Although the money allocated for it is not enough for a new building, it is enough to renovate an existing structure that has yet to be determined to meet the needs of STEM education.
All the renovations and additional construction projects in the bond will cost about $239 million. These initiatives are part of TPS' 20-year Capital Improvement Plan to improve the learning environment for all students. Another $19.8 million will buy new print and digital library books and materials, including new libraries at three elementaries and renovating secondary libraries into "learning commons." The final piece of the bond is the $17 million transportation bond which will replace approximately 20 buses each year to help maintain the targeted 12-year life cycle for buses.
Obviously there is much more to this bond issue. You can acquaint yourselves with information through the fliers in your building or the website at www.tulsaschools.org/bond. One important thing to remember is this bond, if approved, replaces bonds that are being retired and will thus NOT increase ad valorem taxes for property owners.
Lastly and most importantly, I encourage all of you to go out and vote tomorrow and ask that you encourage each other, as well as friends and family, to do the same.