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February 1, 2014

Bond to help NPS meet diverse need

NORMAN — Editor’s note: This is the latest in a series of articles on the Norman Public School district’s proposed bond issue to be voted on Feb. 11.

 

When a freshman enters high school, he or she is 14 or 15 years old, the small man on campus. When a senior graduates, he or she is 17 or 18, able to drive, vote and about to take on more responsibility then they have probably ever known. Norman Public Schools officials said they

recognize that currently the way the district approaches teaching these very different students is almost exactly identical and that has to change.

In the 2014 bond issue, 47 percent of bond funding has been dedicated to school facility additions and renovations. Out of that portion of the bond funding, about $22 million has been dedicated to each high school, particularly for the addition of a Freshman Academy and University Center on both campuses. If the 2014 bond issue passes, Norman Public Schools will be the first school system in central Oklahoma to have University Centers. NPS also will be the first in the state of Oklahoma to have University Centers on multiple high school campuses.

The $126 million, five-year bond issue will be voted on Feb. 11 in two proposals. This bond issue is the largest ever proposed in the school district’s history. For the bond issue to pass, it must carry a vote of 60 percent.

Voters will be 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.

The $126 million 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.

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