Bond issues pass; superintendent thanks community & supporters

posted Aug 27, 2016, 7:35 AM by District Webmaster   [ updated Aug 28, 2016, 8:12 AM ]
Bond Issue Theme
THANK YOU, BARTLESVILLE!

8/23/2016 Bond Issue Election Results: 

Proposition 1 for Operational Funding: 4,056 YES & 1,767 NO = 70% YES

Proposition 2 for Transportation: 4,233 YES & 1,601 NO = 73% YES


The students in the Bartlesville Public Schools will benefit greatly from two bond issue proposals approved by district voters on Tuesday, August 23, 2016.

Voters approved issuing $17,450,000 in bonds for various operational needs and facility improvements over the next five years as well as $1,950,000 in bonds for buses and other vehicles.

Over 70% of the total issuance is focused on shifting operational/general fund expenses to bond funds to help preserve teaching positions and class sizes in the face of continuing severe state budget cuts.


SUPPORTERS CELEBRATE AT WATCH PARTY

I am truly humbled. This is a great day for our kids, this is a great day for our staff, this is a great day for Bartlesville.

-Superintendent Chuck McCauley
Supporters gathered on Tuesday night at the Freshman Academy Conference Center to see the election results. They celebrated the overwhelming support the issues received despite the difficult economic environment and an increase in property taxes that will bring the district's bond issue millage to just below the average of its peer districts across the state. The bond campaign's theme was, "Small Change - Big Difference" based on how the average property tax increase on a $100,000 home will be about a dime a day.

At the watch party Superintendent Chuck McCauley celebrated the successful vote, saying, "I am truly humbled. This is a great day for our kids, this is a great day for our staff, this is a great day for Bartlesville."

McCauley, who in March was selected to succeed previous Supt. Dr. Gary Quinn, thanked Scott Bilger, President of the Bartlesville Board of Education, and the other board members. "Scott truly had a vision to move forward with this bond...I am so thankful that we moved forward with this. Truthfully, this is not something that was on my radar."

He went on to thank the many volunteers from the community who assisted with all aspects of the campaign along with the teachers, staff, and board members who helped craft and support the proposals. Later that week, in a letter to the editor of the Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise, McCauley directly expressed his thanks to the district's voters (reproduced later in this post).

This is the most excited I've been about the future of this community.

-Board President Scott Bilger
School board president Bilger said, "This is the most excited I've been about the future of this community. Thank you to everybody who put in countless hours putting this together...a lot of folks who don't have kids in school anymore but looked at this and said this is what we need to do because it's the right thing to do and it's the right thing for the future of the community."


BOND ISSUE COMPONENTS

Bar Chart

Over the next five years, the bonds will provide:
  • $4.7 million for facility maintenance, including furniture, HVAC, carpet, roofs, and safety upgrades
  • $3.4 million for curricular needs, including both physical and digital textbooks as well as science and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) equipment and supplies
  • $2.8 million for technology, focused on a 5-year roll-out of Chromebooks for every student in grades 5-12 and classroom devices in the lower grades
  • 2.2 million for transportation, including replacing 15 buses purchased before 2000 and providing two activity buses and other vehicles
  • $670,000 for extracurricular activity support, including athletics and fine arts uniforms, instruments, and other equipment
It will also fund $5.7 million in facility projects, including:
  • Rebuild the tennis courts and renovate the Doornbos Track at the high school
  • Renovate pea gravel and borders at elementary school playgrounds
  • Additional music rooms by renovating and repurposing space in the Phillips Field House at Bartlesville High School and some old locker room space at Madison Middle School (the former Mid-High/Sooner High) 
  • Renovating and reallocating space for wrestling, cheer, pom, and weightlifting at the high school in the Phillips Field House and Bruin Activity Center (indoor practice facility)
  • Provide locker rooms for cross country, track, and tennis in the bottom level of Custer Stadium
  • Build a softball locker room at Madison Middle School
  • Minor repairs to Doenges Memorial Stadium for the baseball team
  • Update both middle school auditoriums
  • Build a bus loop and replace original HVAC systems at Madison Middle School

Supt. McCauley thanks community

Supt. Chuck McCauley
Bartlesville community,


Thank you for your overwhelming support of the Bartlesville Public School District during the bond issue election which was held on Aug. 23.

There were two propositions on the ballot since state law requires that bonds for transportation must be voted on separately from other items. Here are the final election results:

• Proposition 1 for Operational Funding passed with 70 percent approval and 4,056 “Yes” votes.

• Proposition 2 for Transportation passed with 73 percent approval and 4,233 “Yes” Votes.

Like all state agencies, our school district suffered revenue shortfalls in 2016 which required us to reduce 5 percent of our teaching positions as well as administrators and support staff, totaling 39 positions.

This bond issue package will give us the opportunity to have more control of our own fate to protect teaching positions, class sizes and programs. We will be able to provide our students with the tools other districts have by putting more technology in their hands to enable modern instruction. By having modern classrooms and extracurricular environments, families will have another great reason to settle here instead of the Tulsa suburbs.

Again, thank you for supporting the Bartlesville Public School District, and GO BRUINS!

Chuck McCauley
Superintendent, Bartlesville Public School District

NEXT STEPS

The district will be able to issue some of the new bonds in late fall, so the first round of funding will be available as it develops the budget for the 2017-2018 school year. 

Boost in Operational Funds

Given the continued state income tax cuts and struggling petroleum sector, the district expects state per pupil funding will remain low and is likely to drop even further. The bonds will allow more operational expenses to be shifted to bond monies beginning in 2017-2018, allowing the district to devote even more of its general fund to salaries in order to preserve teaching positions and class sizes.

Early Projects

The purchase of new buses to replace 15 buses that are now over 17 years old will be an early priority, along with purchase of two activity buses for out-of-town events to be used by athletics and fine arts. The district plans to purchase the new buses as rapidly as possible to improve the efficiency and reliability of the fleet.

The highest-priority facility projects are replacement of the tennis courts and Doornbos track at Bartlesville High School. It is hoped those facilities might be completed by spring so that the school could begin hosting events again.

Also likely to be completed by the start of the 2017-2018 school year are replacing pea gravel with mulch and replacing timbers with plastic borders at the elementary school playgrounds.

A multi-year roll-out of Chromebooks for secondary school students will begin in August 2017 when every freshman receives a Chromebook to use at school and at home. Preparations to shift towards digital assignments and curricula are already underway, according to Granger Meador, who will become the district's Executive Director of Technology and Communications in June 2017. The high school is now piloting a new online system, Canvas, to support online course calendars, assignments, and secure discussions. In the coming weeks, carts of Chromebooks will be deployed in the 10th-12th grade English classrooms for students to use at school.

Chromebooks Timeline

Longer-Term Projects

Larger renovation projects at the Phllips Field House at the high school, Central and Madison middle schools, and Hoover and Jane Phillips elementary schools will begin later once sufficient bond funding becomes available.

Documentation

In the coming weeks, the district will be developing a strategy to document progress on the various bond projects at its bond issues website, bruinbond.com, to assure voters that the funding they approved is being used appropriately.