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Smart & Secure Schools Bond logoBOND INFORMATION

TPS is proposing a SMART & SECURE SCHOOLS bond for 2013. This bond focuses on classroom technology and making schools safer with additional fire sprinklers and upgraded school security. The $38 million bond initiative would be placed on the May 14, 2013 ballot.



Bond Oversite Committee Update 1/16/2014

  • TPS is lagging behind other neighboring districts in technology
  • Our students need to be competitive in a “digital” world, and that means starting early.  Their college and career readiness and future success are tied to technology
  • Teachers, principals and community members through the Citizens’ Bond Development Committee all had input into the recommendation being made to the board tonight
  • They recommend a $38 million bond initiative that would be placed on the May 14, 2013, ballot
  • It would result in a very modest increase of $3.38 per month (or $40.50 per year) for citizens owning a house valued at $100,000
  • The first bonds would be issued in the fall of 2014, with half of the taxes due in Dec. 2014 and the balance no later than Mar. 31, 2015
  • Community forums to discuss the proposed bond will take place
    • Tues., Feb. 26 at the ESC (Selman Room) 6–7 p.m., and
    • Thurs., Feb. 28 at E. Central (auditorium), 6–7 p.m. 
  • The TPS board vote is expected to take place Mon., Mar. 4
  • The bond election would take place Tues., May 14, 2013


Safety and Security

  • Security
  • Upgrade fire panels and intrusion alarm panels district-wide
    • Supports the security system used to monitor fire alarms, smoke detectors, motion detectors, and cameras
  • Replacement of damaged, destroyed or expired equipment for cameras and door systems
  • Sprinkler Systems – in the 11 remaining wooden structures / buildings
  • Burroughs, Eliot, Lanier, Lee, Lombard, Project Accept / Roosevelt, Sequoyah, Springdale, Street School, Tulsa MET at Bryant and the Cherokee site
  • All meet current fire codes
  • TPS wants to protect students, staff, and property

Smart  Classrooms for Students and Teachers – $337 per Pupil


  • Technology access for students for online textbooks and testing
  • One device for every 3 students (eventually one-to-one)
  • Standardized class room (inequities across the district every classroom will have the same basic equipment)
  • District wide shared video technology / system
  • Instructional learning and assessment software for students / teachers (math and reading)
  • Software for monitoring and tracking professional development across the district
  • Pilot programs to replace traditional text books


  • Electrical upgrades to buildings
  • Computers, laptops, tablets, e-readers, multifunction devices (copier, scanner, fax, printer), and software (replace old / poor equipment)
  • Wireless access in every classroom
  • Network Infrastructure upgrades to support wireless in every classroom
  • Internet bandwidth upgrades to support wireless in every class room
  • Creates a baseline to develop a standard recurring replacement lifecycle for all equipment

Bond Proposal/Projects

Bond Proposal Projects
Projects 2013 Budgeted Costs
Security $3 mill
Sprinkler Installation $4 mill
Technology $31 mill
Total $38 mill


Citizen Tax Impact
Estimated Tax Increase from $38 million Bond Election for a $100,000 home 

  • Monthly $3.38
  • Yearly $40.50
Item School District Sinking Fund Levy
1. TPS 23.45 Current (to 27.77)
2. Bixby 26.88
3. Owasso 27.06
4. Broken Arrow 28.62
5. Union 30.70
6. Sand Springs 31.63

2013 Bond FAQs

1. What is the 2013 SMART & SECURE SCHOOLS bond proposition? 

This bond proposition is a request by Tulsa Public Schools for voters to approve the sale of $38 million in bonds, with a focus on:

  1. Improving classroom technology and infrastructure; and
  2. Making schools safer by installing fire sprinkler in 11 buildings and upgrading school security systems district-wide. 

2. Why is this "technology and safety" bond proposal necessary?

On Feb. 25, 2013, the Citizens' Bond Development Committee made a recommendation to the TPS Board that the district pursue this bond proposal. It will permit the district to defray the capital cost of its plan for instructional technologies, infrastructure and safety-related items without using general fund dollars.

Compared with other neighboring districts, TPS is lagging behind in technology. Our children do not have access to computers and critical classroom technology needed to succeed in an increasingly digital world.  We want to give our students every opportunity to become competent in the use of technology, as their college and career readiness will very much depend upon it. 

In addition, TPS does not currently meet the technical requirements needed for standardized testing under Common Core. To meet the requirements, we need to upgrade and add computers district-wide.

3. How does the SMART & SECURE SCHOOLS bond support the district's strategic plan?

Please see the 2013 SMART & SECURE SCHOOLS BOND PROPOSAL, pages 3-4, to learn how this technology and school safety bond relates to the district's five-year strategic plan and core goals.

4. How was this plan developed?

The Education Improvement Committee (EIC) was created on Nov. 8, 2012, to assess the curriculum and technology needs across Tulsa Public Schools to support teachers and help improve student achievement. The goals and objectives of the assessment were to compile a prioritized list of needs (projects) with estimated costs for each project. The assessment was teacher-led and focused. Input was gathered from teachers informally using a "blog," encouraging teachers to post their thoughts and impressions about the current level and effectiveness of technology as well as areas of need.  More than 250 teachers responded and their input was used to develop a formal survey. 

From Dec. 7 - 14, 2012, more than 1,300 teachers, principals, other certified and support staff participated in the survey. Nearly 80 percent of the participants were teachers, more than 10 percent were "other certified staff"; about 8 percent were support staff; and nearly 2 percent principals. There was good representation among all grade levels, both primary and secondary. (See a summary of results in Question 5 below).

In addition, the Citizens' Bond Development Committee, comprised of community members, leaders, parents, teachers and administrative staff, met to analyze the data and provide a community perspective. Ultimately, they recommended to the TPS board on Feb. 25, 2013, that the district proceed with the $38 million bond initiative. If approved by the board, the bond program would be placed on the May 14, 2013, ballot.

5. How did you determine what the teachers and students need in the classroom? Is our district lagging behind?

Our survey of more than 1,300 teachers, principals and staff revealed the following:

  • Effectiveness of current technology at TPS was rated an average of 2.8 on a 5-point scale, with 32.2 percent rating it a "3" or "acceptable."
  • Technology's importance in positively impacting student achievement had an average rating of 4.38 on a 5-point scale.
  • About 40 percent of respondents rated the software associated with technology in their classroom as "less than acceptable."
  • The importance of technology training received an average rating of 4.5 on a 5-point scale, with more than 60 percent classifying training as "very important."
  • Thirty-five percent rated the district's current technology training as "ineffective."
  • 64 percent said there should be a "standard classroom" design where all teachers would have access to the same classroom technology and curriculum delivery systems.
  • Given the current grade(s) they teach, teachers ranked the following items as the "most requested" items as part of the standard classroom design:
    • 88.0%        Internet access (with each computer)
    • 79.2%        Printer/copier/fax/scanner
    • 60.5%        iPad for teacher
    • 49.8%        Laptop for each student desk or table location
    • 49.1%        e-Textbooks
  • The most-requested minimum number of computers needed in the classroom for grades Pre-K through 2nd grade was 3-5 computers (about 31 percent); and "one for every student" (about 28 percent) for grades 3-12.
  • Participants were less than satisfied with the availability of consumable items related to classroom technology, with nearly 60 percent saying materials are scarce. Consumable items include bulbs for interactive white boards, printer toner and other items that need replaced periodically.
  • Sixty-four percent said they often pay out of their own pocket for consumables related to classroom technology due to budget constraints.
  • About 88 percent said on-site, full-time technical support is needed.
  • The current quality of technical support received an average 2.91 rating, which is slightly below the "3" or "acceptable" rating.
  • Response time of technical support at their site received an average 2.60 rating (less than acceptable).
  • Participants were not pleased with the frequency of maintenance of classroom computers/technology, with an average rating of 2.23 (less than acceptable).
  • Wi-Fi access is important, with 84 percent rating it in the top two boxes (an average rating of 4.42).
  • Among the most "necessary" items needed in the classroom for students are:
    • Interactive whiteboards(91.5 percent)
    • Computer lab(89.1 percent)
    • Internet access/upgrade(87.4 percent)
    • Standardized software like Windows OfficeSuite(86.3 percent)
    • Improved electrical/infrastructure(81.9 percent)
    • Wi-Fi(81 percent)
    • Audio readers(76.5 percent)
    • Desktop computers(74.9 percent)
    • Access to virtual instruction(73.6 percent)

View the comprehensive survey results.

6. How is classroom technology used?

Integrating technology into the 21st century classroom effectively is challenging. According to a Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation survey, youngsters ages 8-18 use electronic media for more than six hours a day. (Roberts, D. (1999) “kids & media @the new millennium.”) Born into a world of computers, cell phones and gaming devices, today’s students expect to learn:

  • In their own time
  • At their own pace
  • With one another
  • By doing things that matter
    • Outside the classroom
    • Virtually
    • Interactively
    • With voice and influence (Metiri Group, 2003)

By combining technology judiciously with new approaches to education, a more personalized kind of learning can occur, addressing these key areas:

  • Creativity and innovation
  • Communication and collaboration
  • Research and information fluency
  • Critical thinking, problem-solving and decision-making
  • Digital citizenship; and
  • Technology operations and concepts.

As a public school district, we compete for students with private and charter institutions. Tech-savvy students may leave schools that do not supply learning challenges which they perceive to be relevant to life outside the classroom. Tulsa Public Schools' SMART & SECURE SCHOOLS plan was developed by the district for students who live in a different world than their parents and grandparents.

TPS will have a competitive advantage if, by intelligently using technology in the classroom, we help our students achieve the skills necessary to live successfully in the 21st Century.

7. What are the major technology features of the SMART & SECURE SCHOOLS bond program?

  • The creation of a "standard classroom," with tools that would include a desktop computer; interactive whiteboard with speakers; iPad tablet, a document camera and Internet Protocol TV, all interfacing with the interactive whiteboard; and wireless Internet access. (Art, music, science and other special subject areas will be provided with additional equipment beyond the "standard classroom").
  • Classroom computer funds would be distributed at $337 per pupil, to include desktop and laptop computers, with a minimum student-to-computer ratio of 3-to-1.  It is the goal of TPS to have no computer over five years old;
  • 100% of all desktops and laptops will be compliant with PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers) standards;
  • Multi-function devices (copiers, printers, scanners and faxes) will be upgraded, with more efficient printing services and functionality;
  • All principals and teachers district-wide will have a tablet device and related curriculum for classroom and office use;
  • Library ebooks will be purchased for circulation/downloading on to computers and tablets;
  • Replacement of district support computers, as well as extending the licenses associated with educational videos and learning materials;
  • A new professional development system that will be used to schedule, track and enroll teachers and support staff in professional development classes; and
  • Technology infrastructure will be improved, with wireless access at every school site and increased Internet bandwidth based on federal standards.

8. What school safety/security items are included in this proposed bond?

  • Install fire sprinkler systems in all wooden structures that do not currently have them. There are currently 11 buildings in the district that were constructed from 1910 to 1920, and while they meet all current fire codes, steps can be taken to improve their safety for students and staff;
  • Fire sprinkler systems would be added in the following buildings:
    • Burroughs
    • Eliot
    • Lanier
    • Lee
    • Lombard
    • McLain Junior High
    • Project Accept at Roosevelt
    • Sequoyah
    • Springdale
    • Street School
    • Tulsa MET Junior and Senior Highs at Bryant; and the Cherokee site.
  • Upgrade the existing fire panels and intrusion alarm panels district-wide.  This supports the security system used to monitor fire alarms, smoke detectors, motion detectors and cameras; and
  • Provide hardware and materials for the replacement of damaged, destroyed or expired equipment for cameras and door systems.

9. What are the costs of the SMART & SECURE SCHOOLS bond program?                                               

Electrical/Server Room Upgrades  $2,200,000.00
Fire Sprinkler Systems 3,676,000.00
District-wide Security Upgrades   2,750,000.00
Classroom Computers /Tablets/Software 15,126,000.00
Teaching Technology Equipment 6,138,000.00
District-wide Wireless Equipment   1,850,000.00
Multi-Functional Printing Equipment   3,700,000.00
Internet Infrastructure and Capacity Upgrade Equipment  300,000.00
Instructional Learning & Assessment Software   1,150,000.00
District Shared Video Technology   260,000.00
New Professional Development System & Equipment 90,000.00
Professional Services Bond Management Fee  760,000.00
Total $38,000,000.00


Please see the 2013 SMART & SECURE SCHOOLS Bond Proposal, pages 9-10, for a more detailed description of each item. 

10. How does the 2013 plan differ from previous bond issues passed by the community?

Previous bond initiatives have focused on bringing the district's facilities up to par. Since the 1996 bond – and successive bonds, culminating in the $354 million bond in 2010 – $261.4 million has been spent on the construction of new facilities, classroom additions, heating and air conditioning and replacing aging windows and roofs. We spent the remaining dollars on textbooks, learning materials, buses and physical education facilities. Now that TPS is close to finishing the improvements to its physical plant, we face ever-widening gaps in technology. While technology was a small part of the previous bonds, much of the equipment that was purchased is at or near the end of its life cycle.

With the statewide implementation of Common Core, the district's need for technology is even more desperate given the standardized testing requirements.

11. Since cell phones, iPods, iPads and other devices are becoming more powerful, won't there be a time when all students will have devices of their own and won't need computers?

Each device has its own purpose and we find ourselves in a transitional time when it is difficult to predict which technologies will prevail (i.e., computers vs. laptops; tablet devices and eReaders vs. traditional textbooks, etc.). In studying the district's options, we are convinced that our best plan is to provide flexibility so we can benefit from evolving technologies.

This also highlights one of the needs of the bond, to increase the infrastructure to allow more devices to be used in our facilities. The infrastructure demands increase dramatically as more staff and students expect to use the infrastructure for their own devices. We have seen a dramatic surge in network activity, which is beginning to exceed our existing pipeline. We want to encourage improving learning opportunities and have the technology systems in place to allow it.

12. Is there any research that shows a link between technology in the classroom and student achievement?

According to the U.S. Department of Education and recent studies by the National Training and Simulation Association, technology-based instruction can reduce the time students take to reach a learning objective by up to 80 percent.

Last year, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan jointly unveiled a five-year challenge and the "Digital Textbook Playbook" to help transform American classrooms into digital learning labs by modifying the textbook adoption process, allowing K-12 schools to use taxpayer funding once reserved for printed books to be used on iPads, Kindles and other devices, as well as software.

Mooresville Graded School District in North Carolina, went digital five years ago, with laptops and MacBook Air computers district-wide. The district has not purchased a textbook in over five years, with the exception of those required for high school Advanced Placement classes.  On state tests in reading, math and science, an average of 89 percent of students across grades met proficiency standards in 2012, compared with 73 percent four years ago. Graduation rates are up 10 percent over four years ago, to 90 percent, and more graduates are attending college, the rate rising 8 percent to 88 percent in 2012.

13. How much will the proposal cost the average taxpayer?

This proposal would result in a very modest increase of $3.38 per month (or $40.50 per year) for citizens owning a house valued at $100,000. 

14. If the ballot issue passes, when will property taxes be levied?

If the bond election on May 14, 2013, is successful, the first series of technology bonds would be sold in August 2013 and the first tax levy would be in the fall of 2014, with half of the taxes due in December 2014 and the balance no later than March 31, 2015. 

15. Will the 2013 SMART & SECURE SCHOOLS bond take care of all of the district's technology needs? 

As the district seeks to implement the 2013 SMART & SECURE SCHOOLS bond, we know it will go a long way toward bridging the technology gap in TPS classrooms. As we wrap up the remaining capital improvement projects that were part of the 2010 bond, we know that fewer dollars will need to be spent on building construction and repair. None of us have a crystal ball, but given the rapid change and relatively short lifespan of technology, it is clear that the district will need to make future investments in technology. In 2015, Tulsa Public Schools will likely move forward new bond initiatives, and it is expected that a higher percentage of bond dollars will be spent on technology as the district migrates toward a 1:1 student-to-computer ratio.

16. Will money from the bond proposal be used to pay teacher salaries and benefits?

No. School districts are not allowed to use funds from a bond issue for operating expenses such as teacher, administrator, or employee salaries. Bond funds must be kept separate from operating funds.

17. Why can't the items in this bond be funded with operating funds?

Over the last five years, TPS has reduced spending by $23 million and closed 14 schools under Project Schoolhouse.  During the 2010-11 school year, we reduced teaching staff by 225 positions and administrative/support staff by 130 positions. For the 2012-13 school year, we narrowly avoided cutting 75 teaching positions because two generous donors stepped forward to provide additional funding. Because of severe limitations on the general fund operating budget and the lack of availability of other resources, the district's best option to meet the demand for new and improved technology is to finance the improvements through the 2013 SMART & SECURE SCHOOLS bond.

18. Will there be any public forums about details of the bond prior to the vote?

Yes.  There will be two community forums (scheduled as follows):

Community Forums
Date/Time Location
Tues., Feb. 26; 6 - 7 p.m. Education Service Center, 3027 S. New Haven Ave. (in the Selman Room)
Thurs., Feb. 28; 6 - 7 p.m. East Central High School, 12150 E. 11th St. (in the


Additional parent and community meetings will be held at schools throughout the district in the weeks leading up to the vote on Tues., May 14, 2013. Please visit our website at for an updated list of community meetings.

19. What are other key dates do I need to know about?

Key Dates
Date Event
Monday, March 4, 2013; 6:30 p.m. TPS Board vote
Friday, April 19, 2013 Final Day to Register to Vote
Tuesday, May 14, 2013; 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. Election Day


20. Where and when do I register to vote?

The Tulsa County Election Board office is located at 555 North Denver, in Tulsa. Office hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. You may also register at any one of the 26 Tulsa County Tag Agencies (click here for a complete listing): 

Registration applicant cutoffs are 24 days before each election. (You must register by Friday, April 19, in order to vote in the May 14 bond election). 

Polling locations:

21. What is the procedure for absentee voting?

Absentee ballots by mail may be requested until 5 p.m. on the Wednesday before the election. In-person absentee voting is available on the Friday and Monday before all elections from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. In Federal and State elections, in-person absentee voting is additionally available on Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. For additional information call the Tulsa County Election Board office at 918-596-5780.

22. Why is equity an important goal of 2013 SMART & SECURE SCHOOLS bond?

Tulsa Public Schools believes in equal opportunity for all students. Through this SMART & SECURE SCHOOLS bond issue, the district seeks to provide a quality learning experience for every student, every day, without exception.

23. Why are laptop and desktop computers still a part of the district's technology plan when the world seems to be moving to tablets (iPads) and eReaders (Nook, Kindle, etc.)?

We live in a complex transitional time. While we fully expect that tablets and eReaders will take on a substantially larger role in the classroom, TPS wants to build a technology program with flexibility. The 2013 SMART & SECURE SCHOOLS bond is a critical "first step," but even if it passes, it will not allow us to attain a 1:1 student-to-computer ratio.  This means that many of our students will have to share computers. To achieve a 1:3 student-to-computer ratio, our teachers have indicated that laptop "carts" will provide us with the flexibility and portability necessary to optimize student access.

Under this proposed bond, classroom computer funds will be distributed at the rate of $337 per pupil. This will include classroom computing devices ranging from desktops, laptops, and tablet computers to meet a minimum computer to student ratio of 1-to-3. That ratio will provide students access to a combination of tools to meet the demands of class, small group, and individual student work as well as the Oklahoma State Dept. of Education requirements for online testing. Library ebooks will be purchased for circulation/downloading onto computers and tablets. Replacement of district support computers is also included in this category.

24. Why aren't more tablet and eReader devices a bigger part of this proposed bond?

There is enough flexibility in the SMART & SECURE SCHOOLS bond to allow the district to begin the migration toward tablet and eReader devices. However, the technology requirements related to state standardized testing will largely mandate that a significant percentage of the $337-per-student allocation be spent on laptop and desktop computers.

25. With such an emphasis on technology, what are the district's plans to provide technology support and training/professional development?

Ongoing training and technical support will be provided so teachers can maximize classroom technology. The district has already identified a couple of open positions that they are considering converting to technical support positions. They are combing through general budget dollars to fund additional positions, as bond dollars cannot be used to pay for these positions.

26. If I have questions not covered in this material, where can I get additional information?

Please visit the 2013 SMART & SECURE SCHOOLS bond section of the TPS website at or e-mail us at



2013 Smart & Secure Schools bond projects by site:

2010 Bond Project Status - remaining projects by site:



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