On June 8, Tulsans will vote on the 2021 Bond for Tulsa Public Schools, which will invest $414 million in Tulsa students, teachers, and families across a five-year period. Proposition 1 of the proposed bond package includes $18.3 million to improve student dining experiences through kitchen and cafeteria upgrades across the district.
If approved by Tulsa voters, the 2021 Bond for Tulsa Public Schools will fund improvements to kitchens and dining spaces across the district. Some schools will receive new modernized kitchen equipment such as new serving lines, walk-in refrigerator-freezers, grease traps, and vent hoods.
Nutrition is essential to students’ academic success: the brain needs to have fresh and nutritious food to function properly and retain information throughout the school day. Healthy food options help students remain energized and engaged in learning. With improved food storage options, the district’s Child Nutrition Team will be able to expand the number of fresh fruit and vegetable offerings available on school menus.
"The investment put into updating the kitchen area will allow us to expand our menu options to students," said Chief Finance and Operations Officer Jorge Robles. "The modernization of the equipment allows a more modern and fresh approach to serving students with high-quality, nutritious food."
In addition, high school students throughout the district will benefit from cafeteria renovations - these spaces will be completely redesigned to function as flexible, modern, multi-use spaces for students and teachers.
"We want to create spaces for students to collaborate, hang out, and work together in a place that is inviting and comfortable," said Robles. "If you think of student unions in colleges, students have access to meals, but that the core space is inviting where people can go to relax and work on projects together. The investments in the 2021 Bond package will create similar environments for all of our high school students.”
On average, school cafeteria spaces are only in use for one-third of the school day. The cafeteria remodels will create spaces that can be used across the entirety of the school day for meals, school events, learning activities, tutoring sessions, meetings, and other activities before, during, and after the school day. The addition of new multifunctional furniture and upgraded wi-fi networks will make the space comfortable with reliable internet access so students and teachers can work and socialize outside of mealtimes. At the same time, these new spaces will provide the students a college-like experience.
Memorial High School Principal Rebecca Grooms is excited about the renovations and its effect on the students.
"It would be a more modernized and updated space," said Grooms. "It would be a multi-purpose space and truly enhance our student experience. The mockups I've seen are just amazing, and the students are extremely excited with the possibilities."
Hale High School Principal Sheila Riley is ecstatic about the opportunities the bond investments will create for the school’s culinary students.
"The remodel will provide an opportunity for Hale's Kitchen to expand their menus and provide even more food options for our students during lunchtime," said Riley. "The plan is to try and offer some alternatives to the regular cafeteria. It gives those students in the culinary program an opportunity to show off their skills."
The 2021 Bond for Tulsa Public Schools includes four propositions totaling $414 million in investments that support every student in every school. Save the date of Tuesday, June 8 to get out and vote!
If you are not yet registered to vote, the voter registration deadline is Friday, May 14.
The proposed bond package will not increase your tax rates and is designed to keep your property taxes level.
Check out some renderings of the proposed renovations below.