The Norman Transcript

January 15, 2013

Norman Public Schools board opens bids for $25M bond

By Caitlin Schudalla
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — Monday evening was a mix of work and play for the Norman School board as attention to bond sales, the Administrative Services Center renovation and public communication was preceded by Superintendent Joe Siano honoring a wager.

Based upon a bet between Siano and Jenks Superintendent Kirby Lehman, Siano arrived at the meeting sporting a Jenks football jersey, in acknowledgement of Jenks’ victory in the 6A state championship against Norman North High School last month.

However, board members Don Shandy, Julie Raadschelders and Dan Snell wore Norman North Timberwolves jerseys to “balance it out,” draping the jerseys over the front of their podium for the duration of the meeting in a gesture of support.

“I’ve put this off as long as possible,” Siano joked at the beginning of the meeting. “Jenks’ football team and student body are great kids. It’s a great district and (the state championship game) was a great experience for both districts. ... I’d make this bet again.”

Community member and school board candidate Gary Barksdale presented public communication, expressing his request that the Norman School district adopt a policy of arming teachers for safer schools.

“I would ask the district to consider Rep. McCullough’s proposal to the legislature. I understand this is a popular issue, and it may cost me in my upcoming election,” Barksdale said. “However, the question remains: Do we consider our children more precious than the money we protect with armed guards in banks?

“I ask that teachers or personnel be allowed to have concealed carry of firearms in schools based on their meeting the following criteria: They have valid CCL; they must keep the weapon concealed and on their person at all times while on campus; each individual with CCL (must) be approved by the board; only the board, local law enforcement and site administration know who has CCL on campus; each individual must have CLEET training, military training or any additional training deemed appropriate by the board; and each CCL holder must use frangible ammunition (preventing ricochet) in their firearm.”

Barksdale also requested the removal of signs currently posted on school grounds designating them “gun-free zones,” saying they serve as “open invitations” to potential assailants.

Board members approved the fourth segment of the five-year distribution series for the 2009, $109 million bond issue, opening up the bidding process and selecting Bank of Oklahoma as the district’s paying agent.

Potential bidders have until Feb. 11 to submit their bids for the $25,250,000 bond that, Siano emphasized, will fund only the projects approved by voters in 2009.

“To be totally clear, the bond dollars (the board) will be acting on tonight are meant to pay off revenue bonds which have already been expended on projects which are largely finished,” Siano said. “These dollars will not go toward new projects.”

Finally, the board was presented an overview of changes made to the interior renovations on the Administrative Services Center, necessitated by a construction phase that was significantly over budget.

Presented by Mike Tower of LWPB, changes were shown via a slideshow that illustrated the most significant changes occurring in carpeting and light fixtures. The board’s meeting room and other high-traffic portions of the building were largely unchanged.

Based on new estimates, the new facilities interior of the Administrative Services Center will cost $740,026 and interior renovations to the existing facility will cost $511,150.

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