Overcrowded Tulsa Area School Districts Hoping Voters Approve Bond Issues

Monday, February 9th 2015, 11:03 pm
By: News On 6

Three major school districts in the Tulsa area said their schools are getting overcrowded.

Jenks, Broken Arrow and Tulsa Union all plan to build new elementary schools if approved by voters on Tuesday.  All three school superintendents said the bonds are crucial for their school districts.

Polls are open until 7 p.m.

Three new elementary schools and a new middle school would be built in Broken Arrow if the district's school bond passes a community vote Tuesday.

10/20/2014 Related Story: Broken Arrow Superintendent Pushing For New $340M School Bond

"We've been furiously making sure that we have classrooms for our students and have an environment that's conducive to learning,” said Broken Arrow Superintendent Jarod Mendenhall.

The bond would also expand the freshman academy, high school and would create an activities complex -all to stay ahead of BA's big growth.

"Making sure that we stay ahead of the pace, stay ahead of the growth that we have," Mendenhall said.

Jenks Public Schools is also growing and in need of more space for students. Its bond issue, also up for vote Tuesday, would build a new elementary school to open fall of 2016.

1/26/2015 Related Story: Jenks Schools In 'Desperate Need' Of Fourth Elementary School

"We desperately need more elementary classroom space so that we can continue to provide the quality education that Jenks is known for," said Kim Kittelson with Jenks West Elementary.

The Union Public Schools bond would build a new elementary school, expand the 8th grade center and add a dozen classrooms at Rosa Parks Elementary School.

There are so many students at Union's Rosa Parks Elementary School – 800 of them in fact – that office spaces and conference rooms are being used as classrooms.

Superintendent Kirt Hartzler said his district is also growing, as more young families move to town, particularly one area of town.

"It's a great problem for us to deal with but we are definitely having to focus right now on the north central part of our district," Hartzler said.

The Broken Arrow school bond totals $340 million. Jenks' totals $120 million and Union totals $27 million.

According to state law, the bond issues must receive approval from 60 percent of the voters to be approved.  

School officials in each district say if approved, the bonds will not raise property taxes, but they won't lower property taxes either.