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January 23, 2014

NPS Superintendent Joe Siano promotes 2014 bond issue at League of Women Voters luncheon

NORMAN — Norman voters will consider a $126 million, five-year bond issue Feb. 11 in two proposals.

To make sure they had all the facts beforehand, League of Women Voters of Norman members invited Superintendent Dr. Joe Siano to discuss the future of Norman Public Schools and the 2014 bond issue Wednesday at their Hot Topic Lunch.

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.

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 taxes because other bonds will have been paid off by the time the new bond would hit the tax rolls. Additionally, by law, the bond issue is only allowed to be spent on capital investments. All bond issue projects will be completed in three years.

“We believe in a comprehensive approach to our school system,” Siano said. “The kids in school now will get to take advantage of the bond issue projects.”

Although the bond issue encompasses 90 projects, Siano focused on three key initiatives: maintaining current facilities with renovations and additions, technology and freshman academies and university centers in both high schools.

Siano said the district needed to maintain what it already has, which is why 47 percent of the bond issue would be applied to school facility additions and renovations.

“People may say, ‘What’s so exciting about new roofs?’ But it is pretty exciting for the teachers who have leaking roofs,” he said.

Siano said that this bond issue would continue to minimize the use of temporary buildings.

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