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 Tuesday.
Columbine, Sandy Hook, Briarwood and Plaza Towers are all tragedies that burn bright in the memories of parents, school administrators and the country.
With safety a hot topic today, schools are implementing technology, changing procedures and remodeling buildings to enhance security. Such safety measures can include secure entry vestibules that create an entryway to schools that only allows visitors access to a schools’ classrooms, students and teachers after passing through a main office; safe rooms that provide safe shelter during an invasion by an intruder or during strong storms like tornadoes; and enclosed classrooms that create rooms with traditional walls and a door that provides a teacher with the ability to lockdown his or her classroom.
Norman Public Schools has dedicated 13 percent of the 2014 bond issue funds to safety and security. The bond issue would pay for the security measures described above — secure entry vestibules, safe rooms and enclosed classrooms. School administration said the district has been working on enhanced security and safety since the 2006 bond, in which Truman Elementary’s gymnasium was made into a safe room and a majority of schools were updated with secure entry vestibules.
“We cannot foresee all the things that might happen, but we know that the proposed measures will make our schools safer. And that is certainly the priority of the board and of everyone who works in our schools,” Dan Snell, NPS Board of Education member, said.
The $126 million, five-year bond issue will be voted on Tuesday in two proposals. Since it is over five years, the 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. By the end of early in-person voting on Friday, 217 people had voted.