Norman school patrons pass historic bond package

New freshman academies and collegiate centers at both high schools and safe rooms at six schools, including the high schools, are among improvements that will be funded through a $126 million bond package approved Tuesday by voters.
by Jane Glenn Cannon Modified: February 11, 2014 at 9:39 pm •  Published: February 11, 2014
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Voters in the Norman school district Tuesday overwhelmingly passed a historic $126 million bond package to fund improvements throughout the school system, including construction of collegiate centers and freshman academies at the city's two high schools and safe rooms at six schools, including both high schools.

The bond package, divided into two propositions, is the largest in the history of the school district but will not raise property taxes because previous bond packages have been paid off, said Superintendent Joe Siano.

Proposition 1 for $122.5 million passed with 83.9 percent of the vote, well above the 60 percent required for passage. It calls for sweeping improvements at both Norman North and Norman High School, security improvements at other schools, maintenance throughout the system and technological advances at every school.

Proposition 2 for $3.5 million also passed with 84.1 percent of the vote and will be used to buy new buses “as needed” throughout the district.

“On behalf of the board, and especially on behalf of the students, I want to thank the community for stepping up and supporting the schools,” Siano said. “This shows the people in this community value their kids and value education. We're really pleased with the results.”

Siano said the district will begin immediately consulting with architects, contractors, technology experts and other professionals to decide how to group the projects in the most efficient and cost-effective way. All projects are to be completed in three years, he said.

Under the $122.5 million proposition, each high school will get about $24 million to redesign classroom space, adding freshman academies and collegiate centers. Included in the redesigns will be safe rooms and secure entryways.

The school district's last bond proposal, which passed in 2009, focused on improvements to elementary and middle schools, strengthening or adding secure entryways to all but seven of them.

With this bond package, Siano said, secure entryways will be built at the seven remaining schools, and safe rooms will be added to four schools. Besides the two high schools, safe rooms will be built at Irving Middle School, Whittier Middle School, Lincoln Elementary School and Reagan Elementary School.

State election board

by Jane Glenn Cannon
Senior Reporter
A native of Oklahoma, Jane Glenn Cannon is an award-winning reporter who has covered everything from crime, courts and government to entertainment and features. She wrote a popular personal column for many years. She is a former associate writer...
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