NORMAN — When Norman school district voters went to the polls in December of 2009, they put their trust in the superintendent and the school board’s pledge that $109 million worth of projects would be completed on time and on budget and that property taxes would not increase because of the debt.
The bond program that voters approved also came with the promise that the district would not come back to voters for five years.
With the completion of the final project this month, the district has made good on those promises and now returns with the second, five-year bond program with $126 million in projects to be completed within three years. We believe a yes vote is warranted Tuesday.
State law limits what bond proceeds can be spent on. They can’t be used for salaries or added teaching positions. Nearly half of this proposal includes facility addition or renovation work at the district’s 17 elementary schools, three middle schools and two high schools. New, more secure, entryways are part of the project list where warranted.
The district has built “safe rooms” into all new construction projects. Ten percent of the bond projects are dedicated to athletic facilities with the largest being improvements to the press box and facilities at the district’s shared football stadium.
While the 2009 bond issue put more technology in the hands of teachers, this bond issue carries it down to the student’s level with 18 percent dedicated to technology.
Superintendent Dr. Joe Siano said he may have overused the word “equity” in his nearly 60-page bond issue presentations over the past few weeks. NPS students should be able to receive the same quality education no matter which school they attend, he said. “Some students have more technology than they know what to do with and for others, the technology ends when they leave school each day,” Siano told a civic club audience.
A centerpiece of the renovation list includes the construction of “Collegiate Centers” with freshman academies at both high schools. One helps students make the transition to life after high school — be it college, technical training, work or military — and one smooths the transition from middle school to high school.
Approval of the “fast-tracking” of school projects benefits current students as well as future generations who will attend NPS. The five-year program helps administrators take a more long-term approach to facility planning. We encourage voters to make the investment and vote yes Tuesday, Feb. 11.
While early, in-person absentee voting ended Friday, polls will open Tuesday at 7a.m. and will remain open until 7p.m. Watch for the results after the polls close Tuesday at www.normantranscript.com.
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