Tulsa Public Schools is committed to maintaining a transparent budgeting process. The budget is made up of several funds: general fund, building fund, child nutrition, bond, and debt service. Each fund has a purpose and a specification on where money can be spent.
The building fund pays for maintaining the infrastructure of our facilities. This includes repairing and maintaining all our buildings, purchasing furniture, equipment, and computer software, paying energy and utility costs, insurance, security, and campus police.
Because this money must be used for building expenses, we cannot use this fund to pay for teacher salaries, principal salaries, classroom supplies, or other outside the purpose of this fund.
The primary source for this fund comes from local property taxes.
Bonds for school projects are very similar to a home mortgage. To finance construction projects and equipment purchases, the district sells bonds to investors who will be paid back, with interest over time, with funds raised through property taxes.
School bonds begin with a general election to authorize a specific amount for projects specified on the ballot. The school district sells them as municipal bonds, typically twice a year, when funds are needed for building projects or equipment and resources. Bids are taken from interested buyers and are sold at the lowest interest rate offered.
How can school bond money be used?
Proceeds from school bonds can be used for acquiring land, construction projects like classrooms, stadiums and libraries, and remodeling existing school facilities. Funds can also be used for buying buses, equipment, textbooks, computers and networking, musical instruments, science materials, and other teaching resources.
You can find more information on our bond projects here.
Because bond money can only be used for brick and mortar construction, durable goods, and/or technology, teacher and school site salaries or routine expenses cannot be paid from bond funds.
If you look back at how bonds work, you'll see that a school district sells bonds to investors who will then be paid back, with interest. Legally, we are required to set aside money to pay for our debt, which is where the debt service fund comes in.
Because this money is specifically set aside to pay back debts, it cannot be used for any other purpose.
We are currently evaluating our budget structure to identify strategic investments and resource reallocations to help our educators, team members, students. Learn more about how we are Shaping our Future and our budget redesign process.
Learn more about how the Tulsa Public Schools budget works by clicking the PDF below: