Oklahoma City voters are being asked to make several decisions on Nov. 8. One that is important to continued economic success is the proposed bond package that improves capital investments in public education without a tax increase. The separate “Yellow Ballot” is a maintenance investment for the work we began with MAPS for Kids.
The proposed bond package of $180 million is made up of three separate bond proposals. The package does not contain new construction projects, but will give the district the ability to better address maintenance and operations of existing facilities.
The first proposal is for school building maintenance. It will be used to repair or replace basic systems such as heating and air, electrical and plumbing, for 78 school buildings, as well as district-owned buildings that house public charter schools.
The second bond will be used to purchase 130 buses to replace the oldest ones that put students at risk. The average district bus is now 10.5 years old and has almost 200,000 miles.
The third bond is for technology and network infrastructure updates, such as computer labs and testing computers. The last large-scale technology upgrade in the Oklahoma City district was in 2007.
To put this in perspective, 10 years ago the first iPhone was introduced to the world and sophisticated operating systems such as Windows Vista didn’t exist. More than 80 percent of employers report a skilled workforce as the number one reason they select a city, so it’s imperative that we upgrade to help our students’ success in the digital age.
Each proposal must gain at least 60 percent approval to pass. If the proposals pass, existing tax rates for property owners in the district will not change. The current mill rate would remain the same.
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