More taxes

School bond votes Feb. 14 at Jenks, Union, Skiatook

Three Tulsa County districts will ask patrons to borrow more than $56,000,000.00 in a February 14 school bond vote.

Union Public Schools has the highest total at $26,000,000.00 in new borrowing. Jenks Public Schools wants to borrow an additional $10,420,000.00 and Skiatook Public Schools is asking for $19,875,000.00 on February 14.

Union wants to borrow funds for the next phase of construction for a new elementary school.

All are tax increases and will raise the taxes of property owners within the district.

Union is building its 14th elementary school, at 12000 E. 31st St. This new funding would complete about one half of the entire project, which would let the district transfer about 500 kids from Briarglen Elementary sometime next year.

“Our plan is for the building to eventually serve 1,000 students, which is roughly the size of two elementary schools, to address growth in the north central part of our district, as well as helping free up space in our other elementary schools,” Union Superintendent Dr. Kirt Hartzler said on the district’s website. “We are excited about the school’s uniquely child-centered, energy-efficient design, thanks in great part to the perspective brought to the planning process by elementary teachers, principals, students, and parents. Elementary 14 will be a beautiful community school, built the Union way.  Some of its features include STEM ‘maker spaces’ for hands-on, project-based learning; expandable learning areas; outdoor classrooms; and playgrounds designed with exercise and fitness in mind.”

The bond would have funds for software, lab equipment, 3-D printers and other technology needs.

“Union’s districtwide STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) initiative continues to grow and draw national accolades. Students in grades K-12 learn as teams, designing solutions for real-world problems in class and related clubs. Approximately $750,000 will be dedicated to textbooks, library books, equipment, and learning tools for STEM,” Hartzler said.

Union also hopes to plan for an overhaul of the aging Union High School football stadium and the addition of needed classrooms around it. Built in 1976, the stadium is used by all grade levels and the community seven days a week, year-round.

“We need architects, structural engineers, and other professionals to address issues with the stands, restrooms and concessions,” he said.

About $750,000 in the February 14 bonds would be for textbooks, library books, equipment and STEM subjects.

If the bonds pass on February 14, Jenks will use the taxpayer money for equipment, maintenance, printing, safety improvements, technology, transportation, books and media equipment.

Skiatook would like to sell bonds to finish the second phase of construction at Skiatook Elementary and to spend money for a new “technology initiative.”

The first of two propositions in Skiatook would be for construction and technology equipment. The second proposition would buy five new buses and three SUVs.