Tulsa Public Schools announce proposed Smart Start Bond

Tulsa Public Schools announce proposed Smart Start Bond

Tulsa Public Schools

TULSA, Okla. — Tulsa Public Schools released details about a proposed 2015 bond.

They released the information at a meeting of the TPS board on Monday night.

The bond, called the 2015 Smart Start school bond, is a $415 million bond and focuses on capital improvement projects districtwide.

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Plans include a centralized STEM center, replacing portable buildings with permanent classroom additions and the construction of a new school on Tulsa’s east side, as well as  technology to provide every child in the district with individual access to a computer, tablet or laptop device.  There are also significant plans to incorporate storm shelters into new construction at 19 schools.

The 2015 Citizen's Bond Development Committee, co-chaired by Robyn Sanzalone and Rodger Randle, unanimously recommended to the TPS board that the district proceed with the proposed bond.  
The board is expected to vote on the committee's recommendation on Dec. 15.

"Access to technology at all grade levels is critical if our children are going to be successful in college and in career,” said Superintendent Keith Ballard. "That’s why we are calling this the SMART START bond.  Our district has made significant gains in replacing old technology, but teachers and parents have said they want one device per child.  The Bond Development Committee is recommending that we spend about $110 million on technology.  Likewise, there is $4.5 million slated for the creation of a centralized Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Center for use by all TPS students.  The majority of dollars – about $239 million – has been allocated for building and facilities construction and repairs, with a major effort to replace trailers and prefab units at 14 growing schools.  Also proposed is the building of a new elementary school in East Tulsa and the development of a school to serve those living and working downtown.  If the board votes to approve this bond, we will continue our work on the district’s 20-year Capital Improvement Plan to improve the learning environment for all students,”  he said.

Smart Start School Bond Proposal: The recommended $415 million bond would include $239.7 million in building and facilities construction and repairs; $19.8 million toward library additions, renovations and materials; about $17 million toward transportation; and $138.4 million in textbooks and classroom learning materials, which includes $39.5 million in classroom computers.

Features of the bond under consideration in the area of Buildings/Facilities Bond ($293.7 million) are:

  • Classroom additions to replace trailers/prefabs and accommodate growth and or early childhood classes at 14 schools including:  Grissom, Jones, Kerr, Key, MacArthur, McClure, Owen, Park, Penn, Remington, Springdale, and Zarrow Elementary Schools, and Central High and Edison Middle School.
  • Major building renovations for 21 schools, in line with the district's 20-year plan:  Academy Central, Anderson, Bell Primary, Carnegie, Columbus, Copper, Disney, Eliot, Emerson, Greeley, Grimes, MacArthur, McKinley, McClure, Park, Patrick Henry, Salk, Skelly Primary, Central High School, Will Rogers College High, Street School and the Maintenance Warehouse building.
  • Storm shelters would be incorporated into new building additions at 19 schools at a cost of $7.1 million.  Schools integrating the storm shelters into the construction of new libraries are Patrick Henry, Lanier, Springdale and Whitman elementary schools; and Central High School.  Classroom additions doubling as storm shelters are planned for ECDC Porter; Grissom, Jones, Kerr, Key, MacArthur, McClure, Owen, Park, Penn and Remington elementary schools; Zarrow International School; and Edison Preparatory Middle School.  A new practice gym at the McLain 7th Grade Academy will also double as a storm shelter.
  • The district's commitment to early childhood will continue with the expansion of Pre-K and Kindergarten facilities at nine schools, including ECDC Porter and Emerson, Grissom, Key, MacArthur, Penn, Remington and Springdale elementary schools, and at the new elementary school planned for Tulsa's east side.
  • New multi-purpose field houses at E. Central High and McLain Jr. High and High School; and new practice gyms for McLain 7th Grade Academy and Central High School.
  • New football stadiums with bleachers, concession areas and locker rooms for Rogers College High School and Central High School, and stadium improvement and turf for Carver Middle School.
  • Track resurfacing for Booker T. Washington, Hale, Rogers and Memorial high schools.
  • Roof replacements at five schools and roof restorations at 17 schools.
  • HVAC replacement systems for 11 schools and upgrades for 2 schools.
  • CNG fueling facility upgrade and infrastructure for school buses.
  • New cafeteria at Cooper Elementary.
  • Replace elevators at five schools:  Wright Elementary; and Central, Edison, Rogers and Webster high schools.
  • New libraries at Central High School and Robertson and Springdale elementary schools, with existing libraries converted to classrooms to relieve overcrowding.
  • Replacement of service vehicles to support multiple departments and maintenance.

Features of the Library Books, Learning Materials, and Building Additions Bond ($19.8 million) will benefit every student at TPS by providing:

  • New digital and print library books for all students at $26 per pupil annually.
  • District-wide licenses to provide equal access to online research materials for all students accessible from home and school.
  • Computer workstations, tablets and other technologies to equip libraries for students at a minimum of $3,600 per school library annually.  (Budgets are adjusted for alternative sites).
  • New libraries at Lanier, Patrick Henry and Whitman elementary schools and remodeling of secondary libraries into "Learning Commons" areas to support blended learning and project based learning.  (Note:  new libraries for Central, Robertson and Springdale are included in Facilities Bond projects.)

Included in the Textbook/Classroom Learning Materials and Technology Bond ($138.4 million) are the following:

  • New digital and print textbooks for all students at $50 per pupil annually.
  • New technology tools for students including computers and tablets to provide full access to computing devices throughout the day (about $148 per pupil annually for a total of $880 per pupil).
  • Upgrades to district network equipment to improve network capacity and speed and increase access to learning/teaching resources.
  • Equipment for visual and performing art programs throughout the district including upgraded classrooms and new musical instruments to support expanding programs.
  • Upgraded lighting and stage rigging systems for all secondary auditoriums.
  • New materials to support STEM, science, technology, engineering and math program development, district-wide.  Every school will benefit from new curriculum and hands-on support materials for STEM.
  • Science lab and safety equipment upgrades and refreshes to ensure student safety.
  • Physical education equipment for all schools.
  • New teaching technology, including sound enhancement systems in 1,500 classrooms to improve student learning, including next-generation interactive projection/display systems.
  • Desktop and application virtualization to improve access and support for the "bring your own device" initiative.
  • Student learning materials including Safari video delivery system for educational videos and e2020 virtual learning courseware for student credit recovery.
  • Teacher professional development systems and delivery, including access to Teaching Channel resources as well as teacher professional development tracking systems.

The Transportation Bond ($17.02 million) will replace worn school buses at approximately 20 buses annually for the six-year bond period.  This will maintain the targeted 12-year life cycle for buses. 
THE DISTRICT'S BONDING CAPACITY
Tulsa Public Schools currently has a sinking fund rate of 27.79 mills, which is used for the retirement of existing bonds.  This is lower than most of the adjacent districts in the Greater Tulsa area, even though TPS has a larger bonding capacity given its size.  By approving the 2015 SMART START school bond, the new bonds would replace bonds being retired, so it would not increase ad valorem taxes for property owners.  
Tulsa Public Schools will host two public forums to discuss the possible bond initiative:• Thurs., Dec. 4, 5:30-7 p.m., Memorial High School Auditorium, 5840 S. Hudson Ave.; and• Tues., Dec. 9, 5:30-7 p.m., East Central High School Auditorium, 12150 E. 11th St. Members of the 2015 TPS Technology Bond Development Committee are: Robyn Sanzalone and Rodger Randle (co-chairs); Colette Anderson, Phil Armstrong, Carole Carner, Pat Connelly, Connie Dodson, Nick Doctor, Paul Dougherty, Patty Ferguson-Palmer, David Greer, Hether Haddox-Cuervo, Bob Howard, John Huffman, Brian Hunt, Marilyn Ihloff, Myrna Jones, Jim Linn, Dr. Roger Mailler, Josh Miller, Ernesto Mondragon, Dennis Neill, Brian Paschal, Pat Piper, Joshua Roby, Richard Ryan, Peggy Spillman, Evan Tipton, Dan Vise, Sharon Voskuhl, O.C. Walker and Sarah Walker.  
For more information about Tulsa Public Schools, please visit http://www.tulsaschools.org.

The Transportation Bond ($17.02 million) will replace worn school buses at approximately 20 buses annually for the six-year bond period.  This will maintain the targeted 12-year life cycle for buses.

Tulsa Public Schools currently has a sinking fund rate of 27.79 million, which is used for the retirement of existing bonds.  This is lower than most of the adjacent districts in the Greater Tulsa area, even though TPS has a larger bonding capacity given its size.  By approving the 2015 SMART START school bond, the new bonds would replace bonds being retired, so it would not increase ad valorem taxes for property owners.

Tulsa Public Schools will host two public forums to discuss the possible bond initiative:

  • Thurs., Dec. 4, 5:30-7 p.m., Memorial High School Auditorium, 5840 S. Hudson Ave.; and
  • Tues., Dec. 9, 5:30-7 p.m., East Central High School Auditorium, 12150 E. 11th St.

Members of the 2015 TPS Technology Bond Development Committee are: Robyn Sanzalone and Rodger Randle (co-chairs); Colette Anderson, Phil Armstrong, Carole Carner, Pat Connelly, Connie Dodson, Nick Doctor, Paul Dougherty, Patty Ferguson-Palmer, David Greer, Hether Haddox-Cuervo, Bob Howard, John Huffman, Brian Hunt, Marilyn Ihloff, Myrna Jones, Jim Linn, Dr. Roger Mailler, Josh Miller, Ernesto Mondragon, Dennis Neill, Brian Paschal, Pat Piper, Joshua Roby, Richard Ryan, Peggy Spillman, Evan Tipton, Dan Vise, Sharon Voskuhl, O.C. Walker and Sarah Walker.

For more information about Tulsa Public Schools, please visit http://www.tulsaschools.org.