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District's Largest Bond Ever Would Bring Tulsa Schools Up To Par

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The walls of Patrick Henry Elementary – built in 1957 – are still standing, but in need of improvement. The walls of Patrick Henry Elementary – built in 1957 – are still standing, but in need of improvement.
The work is far from done and that it will take some big numbers to get where the district needs to go. The work is far from done and that it will take some big numbers to get where the district needs to go.
Bob LaBass said it’s time for some major renovations. Bob LaBass said it’s time for some major renovations.
TULSA, Oklahoma -

At $415 million, Tulsa Public Schools is spreading the word about its largest bond proposal ever. It will cover everything from fresh paint to new iPads and storm shelters.

Everything on the bond summary is considered a draft until school board members can vote in two weeks, but TPS administrators said it is desperately needed.

They said they've been playing catch up for years and that the bond will finally bring schools up to par.

The walls of Patrick Henry Elementary – built in 1957 – are still standing, but in need of improvement.

Bob LaBass said it's time for some major renovations, including getting visible computer wiring out of the hallways and corners and installing it out of view, painting walls and upgrading facilities.

It's not just superficial changes school administrators are hoping to get for schools like Patrick Henry.

“This bond has a lot of money in there for technology. We're trying to achieve that one-to-one ratio with students," LaBass said.

One device, like an iPad or computer, per child would be an achievement that would put Tulsa Public Schools on par with area districts.

"So we're in competition with everybody, so we have to keep our facilities nice," said LaBass. "A student has to have a good learning environment and think that we care, that we value the student."

It's a battle that the school district has been fighting since 1996 when the first bond issue was passed in more than 20 years.

"When I first started we had a leak meeting every Monday when we were in the rainy season. What roof's leaking, and they'd go out and try to repair that one roof. So we don't have that issue anymore," LaBass said.

He said the work is far from done and that it will take some big numbers to get where the district needs to go; a place schools like Patrick Henry want to be.

"So it's going to be a pretty new school by the time we're done," LaBass said.

The bond would also cover two new field houses, new libraries that would double as storm shelters and a science, technology, engineering and math program.

School board members will vote on the bond draft December 15th and if passed will go to public vote March 3rd.

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