Thursday, October 13, 2005

The November School Bond Election

Next month on November 8, 2005, the citizens of Tulsa will be asked to vote on the fourth installment of a 20 year comprehensive bond program to improve facilties, textbooks, buses, etc. The previous votes came in 1996, 1999 and 2001. You can read all about it here at the TPS website.

Although I detest taxes and I especially think that property taxes are an inequitable way to pay for public school buildings, I will throw my support to passing this bond proposal. Why?

It especially does address the facilities needs in a comprehensive and fair way. It is good to drive by and see the improvements to the buildings that are substantial. It is depressing to drive by old and delapidated public school buildings. The comprehensive plan seems to have something for just about everyone. I'm sure that was by design to help get the proposals passed. It takes 60% approval to pass a bond program. I'm glad it takes a super-majority like that.

I have not been able to determine exactly who owns the public school buildings. I seem to remember that the TPS Board has to approve the sale of any excess buildings. I would hope that the property and facilities are owned by the citizens of Tulsa, since we have and are paying for them. Does anyone know the answer?

My last parting comment is this: These improvements will not improve the educational output of TPS. How do I know that? Well, Tulsa School of Arts and Sciences (TSAS) does not benefit one bit from this bond proposal. It was not given a public school building to use. It does not share in the city property tax revenue that goes to the traditional public schools. It must make do with a partial income stream and use that to pay rent on an office building renovated to be used as a school. With the reduced funding and make-shift building, this school has consistently turned out some of the best students in Tulsa for the past four years. It's not about the money or the buildings.

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