TPS School Bond Would Pay For New Technology and Buses

Thursday, November 4th 1999, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

A school bond election for Tulsa Public Schools is next Tuesday. The $109 million package includes construction and repairs, technology, libraries, and buses.
The district proudly points to the technology improvements it says the 1996 school bonds provided. Besides Internet access and e-mail, the package included five student computers and one computer for each teacher in every classroom.

The district says the last bond created the technology infrastructure. Now it's time to move forward with more computers in the classroom. "We need this bond so that all of our kids can have equal access to the Internet from in the school district and to the world of information when they need it, wherever they need it,” said T-P-S chief tech Terry Laster.

The Tulsa Public Schools' technology bond calls for a $111 dollar per pupil expenditure for classroom computers, learning software and technology tools. It also includes expansion of the network to ultimately service 20,000 computers.

Cleveland Middle School teachers say the last bond increased teacher and student computer use dramatically. "It's provided additional computers in the classroom and a lot of hands-on time for students,” said Cleveland principal Dr. Nilda Reyes. “They've learned Power Point. They've learned the A-Plus program, and it's really enriched their learning.” Dr. Reyes believes more sophisticated technology has even improved classroom discipline and heightened learning interest.

Laster says the information age requires schools to explore all ways of using technology to enhance learning. "Technology is not the panacea for all the social, economic, political and educational issues that impact education, but it will have a profound impact on how our kids learn and how teachers teach," he said.

The 1999 bond also includes nearly $6 million for school buses and support vehicles. The district says it needs 66 new buses to replace several, which are over 10 years old. Technology is also changing school transportation. "Our new buses will come equipped with satellite antennas and on-board messaging devices,” said T-P-S transportation director Bob Haddux. “Some of the buses have computers on them. Most of those will be used for special needs education and transportation."

The total cost of the technology bond is just over $25 million, and also includes textbooks and learning materials. The bond proposal does not require a tax increase. The bond election is Tuesday, November 9th.