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Bond for Tulsa Public Schools Passes

  • Voters recently approved a $414-million bond package for Tulsa Public Schools that aims to create safer, more accessible buildings and updated technology and learning materials in all schools. 

    Tulsa Schools Superintendent Deborah Gist expressed her gratitude to voters for the successful bond campaign. “Without exception, every child in our district will see, feel, and experience the benefits of the 2021 bond package,” Gist said in a statement. 

    The funding has four categories: 

    $167 million for buildings, including security improvements, new roofs, and cafeteria upgrades at all high schools; 

    $91 million for student and classroom technologies;

    $17 million for new and refurbished buses; and

    $139 million for programming including college-and career readiness, expanded access to early childhood education, wellness and physical education programs, improved outdoor play, and fine arts and auditorium upgrades. 

    With the passage of the bond, the 32,000-student school system plans to make numerous improvements, including “safe, welcoming and joyful learning environments,” campus safety and security enhancements, digital marquees at every school, Wi-Fi aboard all buses, and science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) program and lab upgrades. 

    The five-year bond issue won the endorsement of the Black Wall Street Times news publication, which argued the spending plan would “ensure schools across the city receive critical renovations, upgrades and technological resources.”

    The Times editorial board said “students – especially students of color – deserve schools that feel like palaces and educational tools that equip them for careers of the future. They deserve the same investment their often wealthier and Whiter peers in suburban districts enjoy.” 

    It noted that about $80 million of the new spending “will be directly invested in building renovations, upgrades and equipment purchases for schools across North Tulsa,” a largely Black, disadvantaged section of the city.

    The Tulsa school board assured voters the bond would not increase their tax rate.