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Oklahoma City Public School Board Approves $180 Million Bond Proposal

Monta Johnson, a fifth-grade teacher at Adams Elementary School, passes out books to her class in Oklahoma City on August 3, 2016.
Sue Ogrocki
Monta Johnson, a fifth-grade teacher at Adams Elementary School, passes out books to her class in Oklahoma City during the first few days of classes earlier this month.

Oklahoma City Public School Board members approved a $180 million bond proposal at a special board meeting on Tuesday. The bond will not increase taxes, and instead extends a bond that is set to expire.

Superintendent Aurora Lora said Oklahoma City Public Schools has dire basic needs throughout the district, and the new bond will address transportation, technology, and building maintenance issues.

“Our air conditioning deficiencies in schools have been well documented the past few weeks; an aging bus fleet continues to be a major financial burden, and most of our students don’t have modern classroom technology," Lora said. 

District officials say the average school bus is 10.5 years old and has 190,000 miles on it. In the bond proposal about $19 million would go the purchasing of 100 buses over five years. The district would also purchase 10 activity buses, 10 mini buses, and 10 seven-passenger vehicles.

About $54.5 million would be spent on upgrading technology within the district. That includes spending $34.5 million on installing and upgrading network infrastructure to support the increasing connectivity demand in all schools.

Other technological purchases include:

  • $2.9 million dollars for computers for student assessment stations
  • $7 million for technology devices for staff
  • $2.9 million for instructional and classroom technology including 5,460 iPads
  • $3.9 million for 3,000 computers

Lora said no new buildings will be constructed with the bond funds, but about $106 million will be spent on maintaining and preserving current structures, including:

  • $30 million will be spent on HVAC
  • $6 million on plumbing work
  • $6 million on electrical work
  • $25 million on roof maintenance
  • $27.3 million on athletic facilities, athletic equipment, uniforms, sidewalks, parking lots and fences
  • $4 million on safety vestibules
  • $4 million on fine arts
  • $4 million on playground equipment and materials and elementary schools

Voters can approve or deny the bond in the November 8 general election.

In graduate school at the University of Montana, Emily Wendler focused on Environmental Science and Natural Resource reporting with an emphasis on agriculture. About halfway through her Master’s program a professor introduced her to radio and she fell in love. She has since reported for KBGA, the University of Montana’s college radio station and Montana’s PBS Newsbrief. She was a finalist in a national in-depth radio reporting competition for an investigatory piece she produced on campus rape. She also produced in-depth reports on wind energy and local food for Montana Public Radio. She is very excited to be working in Oklahoma City, and you can hear her work on all things from education to agriculture right here on KOSU.
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