NORMAN — Norman public school district voters said a resounding yes to a $126 million bond issue, unofficial but complete results showed late Tuesday.
The five-year bond issue passed by nearly 84 percent, easily outdistancing the margin of the last bond issue in 2009, which passed by less than 70 percent.
The results will become official after they are approved Friday by the Cleveland County Election Board.
Norman Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Joe Siano said NPS administration is very happy for the district and community.
“On behalf of the school district, administrators, teachers, students, I want to thank the Norman community for stepping up to support our kids and education,” he said.
Forty-five precincts were eligible to vote in the bond issue election. The bond issue was the largest ever to be proposed and passed in the school district’s history. For the bond issue to pass, it had to carry a vote of 60 percent, plus one.
The bond issue was voted on in two proposals. Voters were asked to approve one proposal representing $122.5 million for renovations, safety and security, technology, athletics and annual expenditure projects, as well as a separate $3.5 million proposal for transportation. State law requires transportation be a separate proposal in school bond elections.
Proposition No. 1 regarding renovations, safety and security, technology, athletics and annual expenditure projects passed, with 5,595, or 83.9 percent, in favor of the propsal and 1,075, or 16.1 percent, against, according to the election board.
Proposition No. 2 regarding transportation, passed with 5,648, or 84.1 percent, in favor of the proposal and 1,065, or 15.9 percent, against, according to the election board.
The bond issue focuses on several areas. The district has dedicated 3 percent of bond funds to transportation; 9 percent to annual expenditures, which includes annual textbook, library, fine arts and furniture acquisitions and maintenance equipment; 10 percent to athletics; 13 percent to safety and security; 18 percent to technology; and 47 percent to school facility additions and renovations.
The bond issue is not expected to raise or lower property taxes because other bonds will have been paid off by the time the new bonds would hit the tax rolls.
Don Shandy, NPS Board of Education president, said the large margin of voters in support of the bond speaks highly of Norman and the support the community has for education.
“I also think it’s very important how our community is viewed throughout Oklahoma, and during these tough economic times, our community has shown that education is important to them, and you don’t see that across the state,” Shandy said.
With its passing, the 2014 bond issue will continue to integrate technology into the classroom and place technology into the hands of every student. A freshman academy and university center will be built on both campuses.
Athletic improvements to Harve Collins, as well as junior high wrestling facilities and softball facilities, will be constructed. And safety and security will remain a district priority with secure vestibule entries, enclosed classrooms and safe rooms.
Andy Paden, parent of a daughter in eighth grade at NPS, said he was pleased the bond issue passed.
“I’m so very pleased, but, frankly, I’m not surprised because Norman has always been a great supporter of our kids and schools,” Paden said. “I’m happy for my own kid, but I’m happy for everyone’s kids that will immediately benefit from this.”
Now that the bond issue has passed, Siano said the district would immediately get to work on financing and organizing projects so the district could begin work as soon as possible and as promised.
In other election news, Rodney Barrett was elected to independent school board member office No. 4 for Noble Public Schools. Nine precincts were eligible to vote in the election.
Barrett ran against Azure Buol. Barrett won the election with 123 votes, or 50.8 percent, in his favor. Buol lost with 119 votes, or 49.2 percent.
Barrett was the incumbent of the No. 4 seat. Barrett has a master’s degree from the University of Oklahoma and is currently employed by the State Department of Health, where he has been employed for 20 years providing therapeutic intervention for developmentally delayed children.
For more information about the election, call the Cleveland County Election Board at 366-0210 or visit clevelandcountyelectionboard.com.
For more information about NPS, visit norman.k12.ok.us.
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