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Group protests Tulsa Public Schools $414 million bond package

Posted at 10:33 PM, Jun 07, 2021

TULSA, Okla. — Tulsa voters are headed to the polls Tuesday to decide on $414 million dollars in bonds for Tulsa Public Schools.

TPS parents encouraging voters to check yes said this package of bonds is the best way to help education. Those against the bond said they want more transparency from the district.

“We just don’t trust it anymore," said Melissa Remington, a TPS parent opposed to the bond package.

Remington was part of a group that gathered outside the TPS Education Service Center Monday evening, holding signs saying “vote no” on Tuesday’s bond. These parents are calling for an investigative audit into the district. Remington said they’ve been asking questions about how money is being spent, especially as enrollment trends down, but are getting no answers.

Among those speaking out is TPS board member Jennettie Marshall. She said she’s speaking as a concerned citizen and won’t support the bond until the community gets answers.

“There are some problems," Marshall said. "And I think there needs to be some one-on-one, face-to-face, dialogue with those within the community that everyone is on the same playing field understanding what is happening to money.”

Josh Roby, chairperson on the TPS Citizen Bond Committee, said state education funding isn’t enough and these bonds are necessary to support the education of thousands of TPS students.

“I think it’s a package that’s well-rounded and it puts an opportunity together for our students to have great facilities, great transportation, great technology, and really give them the best that they deserve," Roby said.

Parents like Remington think the district doesn’t listen to their concerns. She thinks school buildings do need upgrades, but wants to make sure the schools getting that money won’t get shut down and turned into a charter school later. She’s also upset with the district for how it handled distance learning this past year.

“We’re not going to let her [TPS Superintendent Deborah Gist] forget that she kept us closed almost for an entire year and our kids," Remington said. "We are the ones that are responsible to make sure they can go on to another year, and I just don’t trust it.”

Roby said if the bonds don’t pass, the district will have trouble being able to buy things such as new transportation and classroom materials.

“It is so important that we do support these things to ensure that our kids have the best materials and technology in their classrooms," Roby said. "If we don’t pass the bond, unfortunately, the spending would be deeply curtailed next year.”

Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

You can read more about what are in the bonds here.

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