Claremore Daily Progress

January 5, 2014

Verdigris Public Schools seek no tax increase bond

Salesha Wilken
Staff Reporter

VERDIGRIS —

Verdigris Public Schools will seek a $7.9 million bond issue on Jan. 14 to provide funding for capital improvements and transportation.
The bond will not increase taxes, according to Superintendant Mike Payne as other bonds are set to expire and the new issue will simply replace them.
“The proposed ‘No Tax Increase’ bond issue will consist of three multi-series bonds spread over five years. The building bonds, detailed below, total $7,735,000 and a transportation bond for $200,000,” Payne said.
In the past 16 years, the school has experienced population growth which, in turn,  has increased the needs of the school system.
“Our community has been very supportive with the passage of two large series bonds, $7.5 million in 1997 and $6.3 million in 2006, along with a smaller bond of $1,335,000 in 2012. All of these bonds were approved with a high approval margin, proving how special the Verdigris community is,” Payne said.  
The bond issues have resulted in the construction of many facilities, the purchase of new diesel buses, an update of system wide technology (computers and smart boards).
Additional past projects include the construction of a new kitchen and serving area at the Junior High and Senior High Campus.  
“Since the 1997 bond issue, none of the bond issues have resulted in a tax increase and that will continue to be the case with this proposed bond issue,” Payne said.
The proposed bonds consist of building projects and continued upgrades of technology and security. A couple of the priorities of the bonds are safety during natural disasters and school security, according to Payne.
“With a successful vote, FEMA rated storm shelters will be placed or constructed on both campuses,” Payne said.
 In the area of security, locking vestibules will be added to two of our main buildings, and additional security cameras throughout the district, according to Pane.
Additionally, these bonds will provide a Band and Choir facility at the south campus (the junior and senior high schools).  The current music facility,  located at the north campus, will be used for upper elementary band and remodeled to add elementary classrooms, according to Payne.
VPS plans to build additional classrooms at the secondary site for future growth and an indoor practice facility to be used for all extracurricular activities.
The facility will separate softball and baseball dressing rooms.  
“We will also install permanent turf on the football field, (all grass areas inside the track) and the baseball infield resulting in greater usage for our school teams as well as youth programs,” Payne said.
Other items included in the bond issue are Technology, HVAC and Roof repairs and upgrades.  There is also textbook money to facilitate the purchase of new textbooks that meet new common core/Oklahoma academic standards, which are set to begin in 2014-15.
The transportation bond will be for the purchase of school buses and other student transportation vehicles.    
“This is an important bond issue for our students.  Oklahoma reports approximately 500 tornadoes a year and having storm shelters on our campuses is an additional safety measure,” Payne said. “The new facilities and upgrades, as well as the ability to enhance our school system, are of great importance.”
Payne is encouraging citizens to contact him at (918) 266-7227 if they have questions about the bond issues.