TPS Raises $38 Million Bond Issue For Safety, Technology Upgrades
TULSA, Oklahoma - Tulsa Public Schools plans to update their technology, primarily in the classroom, with $38 million worth of equipment.
It's a plan to update and increase the number of computers that students use for learning and testing.
TPS has thousands of computers and other technology pieces, but not nearly enough so that every student can routinely get their hands on one. That's why the district is doing an unusual bond issue to raise money, almost exclusively for new technology.
Most bond issues are for buildings.
"We're gradually getting all the facilities totally improved," said Bob LaBass, TPS Director of Bond Projects.
So, now, the district wants to beef up the technology side, with enough computers so every classroom will have several and every teacher will have a projector and a standard set of modern technology.
"This helps to build infrastructure. It does help with the purchase of computers and meets some immediate needs, but it also lays the groundwork for what we intend to do in the future," said Superintendent Keith Ballard.
The district is kicking off a three-week publicity campaign about the bond vote on May 14. If it passes, the money would start coming in this August.
Out of the $38 million bond, the district plans to spend $3.7 million on fire sprinklers and $2.8 million on security upgrades, like new door cameras and alarms.
The bulk of the money would go for new technology, mainly computers and software. That's $31 million dollars.
The safety component would update and standardize security equipment at schools, where there's often a mix of old and new.
With students increasingly using computers in the classroom - and all state testing moving to computers in 2014 - the district has to buy more, and didn't think it could wait until the next major bond issue in 2015.
"We're falling behind with all the new stuff that's coming out. Tablets? You didn't even hear about that five years ago," LaBass said.
This would all mean a tax increase of about $35 a year for a typical homeowner in Tulsa.