Union Public Schools seeks approval of $26M bond issue

Posted at 1:06 PM, Jan 17, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-17 14:06:40-05

TULSA - Union Public Schools is asking voters to approve a $26-million school bond issue on Tuesday, February 14.

The largest portion of the bond includes the next phase of construction of Union’s 14th elementary school to enable students throughout the district to attend school closer to home, according to a statement released on Monday.

District officials say the bond would not increase taxes above traditional levels and requires a supermajority – at least 60 percent of the vote.

The bond proposal sets aside $11 million for Phase II construction of Elementary 14, 12000 E. 31st Street (east of S. Garnett Rd.) for the first half of the building, enabling Union to move Briarglen Elementary School’s approximately 500 students (grades kindergarten through the fifth grade) into the new school beginning this next school year.

“Our plan is for the building to eventually serve 1,000 students, which is roughly the size of two elementary schools, to address growth in the north central part of our district, as well as helping free up space in our other elementary schools,” Superintendent Dr. Kirt Hartzler said. “We are excited about the school’s uniquely child-centered, energy-efficient design, thanks in great part to the perspective brought to the planning process by elementary teachers, principals, students, and parents. Elementary 14 will be a beautiful community school, built the Union way. Some of its features include STEM ‘maker spaces’ for hands-on, project-based learning; expandable learning areas; outdoor classrooms; and playgrounds designed with exercise and fitness in mind.”

With more than 10,000 students enrolled in STEM-specific courses, the bond would also allocate funds for software, lab equipment, 3-D printers, and other technology-based needs, according to the district.

“Union’s districtwide STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) initiative continues to grow and draw national accolades. Students in grades K-12 learn as teams, designing solutions for real-world problems in class and related clubs. Approximately $750,000 will be dedicated to textbooks, library books, equipment, and learning tools for STEM,” Hartzler stated. Union also hopes to implement a plan for a comprehensive overhaul of the aging High School stadium and the addition of needed classrooms around it. Built in 1976, the stadium is used by all grade levels and the community seven days a week, year-round.

“We need architects, structural engineers, and other professionals to address issues with the stands, restrooms, and concessions. They will also help determine the best configuration for classrooms and activity spaces the High School needs to keep pace with growth in fine arts, athletics, and other school-related activities,” he said.

Other planned projects included new roofing at McAuliffe; renovated exteriors at Darnaby and Peters; a new chiller in the older part of the High School and the HVAC system at Darnaby; and flooring for Cedar Ridge. Support Services will also receive money for projects throughout the district – security camera replacements, playground and equipment renovation, fencing, and sidewalk and parking lot projects.

“I appreciate being part of a community that expects the best for its students and consistently provides it for them,” Hartzler said. “This Valentine’s Day, please join us in celebrating those near and dear to our hearts, the students at Union Public Schools. Please remember to vote Tuesday, February 14!”

Voter Registration Deadline: Voters who are not yet registered must mail a completed registration form to the Tulsa County Election Board, postmarked no later than Friday, January 20, to vote in Union’s bond election. The forms are available at any Union school, the Union Education Service Center, and the Tulsa County Election Board. Absentee ballots must be requested by 5 p.m. on Wednesday, February 8.

Completed and notarized absentee ballots must be mailed back and received by the Election Board by 7 p.m. the day of the election, February 14. For more information, call the Tulsa County Election Board at 918-596-5766 or 918-596-5780.