TULSA, Okla. — Voters approved four bonds for the Tulsa Public School district on Tuesday.
The district said the bonds will invest $414 million over five years in Tulsa children, teachers, and families.
“Every student and every school in our district will benefit from the investments in the 2021 Bond for Tulsa Public School,” Superintendent Deborah Gist said. “Bond funding plays a critical role in our classrooms, especially in our students’ college- and career- readiness by increasing post-secondary career-education programs at every secondary school including our college and business partnerships; expanding access to early childhood education programs for every Tulsa child; and creating strong science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education by improving access to STEM programs district-wide.”
The 2021 Bond for Tulsa Public Schools focuses on five key areas:
- Ensuring that every child learns in a safe, secure, healthy, and accessible environment;
- Expanding access to programs that prepare every student to succeed in college and careers;
- Strengthening science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) programming in all schools;
- Nurturing the whole child with investments in fine arts, athletics, physical education, wellness, and purposeful play; and
- Providing state-of-the-art educational technology for every student and every teacher.
On June 8, Tulsans approved these propositions:
- Proposition 1: Safe Learning Environments ($166.8 million)
- Proposition 2: Student and Classroom Technologies ($90.7 million)
- Proposition 3: Student Transportation ($17.3 million)
- Proposition 4: Quality Learning Materials and Programs ($139.3 million)
The Coronavirus pandemic influenced parts of the bond. The district wants to make sure it benefits all students.
“Through the pandemic, certain student groups were disproportionately impacted," said Jorge Robles, TPS chief operations officer. " And we want to make sure we continue to invest where all kids can benefit from the investments and have the right supports available to them so they can all succeed.”
The district's last major bond came in 2015. Robles said passing this new bond is critical as state funding isn't enough.
“About 75 percent of the high-quality curriculum materials that we acquire are paid by the  bond," Robles said. "100 percent of the library materials are paid by the bond.”
Some parents raised concerns about approving this bond after the district kept students in distance learning for nearly a year. Robles hopes parents see the handling of distance learning and the bond as two different things.
“Everyone wants to put children first and they know and understand that this investment to benefit our students and our students need that," he said.
"Bonds have become a critical source for funding the day to day maintenance and operation to help our district create great teaching and learning experiences for every student," said Tulsa Public Schools Board President Stacey Woolley. "Bonds provide safe and state-of-the-art classrooms, libraries, and stadiums, high-quality classroom technology, and importantly this year, support investments in building ventilation and other COVID-19 safety enhancements. Bond funds also support the purchase of buses; a wide range of classroom materials such as textbooks, microscopes, and musical instruments; and computers and networking – which has proved critical to support our students and families in our shifts to distance learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic."
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