Over the past 14 years, Verdigris Schools has experienced significant growth in both population and in needs.
“Our community has been very supportive in the past with passage of two large series bonds, 7.5 million in 1997 and 6.3 million in 2006,” said Superintendent Mike Payne.
The 2006 bond issue passed with an 86 percent vote.
“That is amazing support and why the Verdigris community is special,” he said. “Those bond issues have allowed us to be where we are today.”
The passage of those issues has resulted in the construction of the south elementary campus facilities, athletic facilities, seventh and eighth grade classroom addition, the Jim Anderson Early Childhood Development Center, two science labs, and the purchase of various buses resulting in an all diesel route and activity bus fleet.
Bond issue projects to be completed this summer include a new addition that houses the seventh/eighth grade library, computer lab, office, and additional classrooms. Also an administration/board room building, covered walkways, and a school/community track will be completed.
As these bonds expire and the district continues to grow, Verdigris Schools will be holding a school bond election on April 3.
The proposed no tax increase bond issue consists of two single bond issues: one totaling $1,185,000 and one for $150,000 for the purchase of activity buses with storage capability.
The first issue will to allow the school system to enlarge the current elementary kitchen and construct a second serving line.
“Our school system currently satellites meals from the main kitchen at the high school campus to the elementary site,” Payne said. “Due to the increased student population it has become necessary to expand the elementary kitchen area. The second serving line could allow for a second menu option and larger salad bar.
“The issue also gives our school the opportunity to enhance our students’ educational opportunities without building any new structures,” he said.
Technology is the other item that this bond issue will address. If passed, this money would allow for the installation of smart board projectors in every classroom, as well as equip every classroom with a small number of computers. Additionally, the school would add a wireless network and be able to upgrade security by providing security cameras at the current elementary campus.
Another item included in this issue is, “permanent surfacing” for the main playground equipment.
“We want our playgrounds to be more usable, even after rain and snow,” Payne said. “We currently purchase wood chips every year to cover the area for the main playground toy and swing. Even with these chips we lose many playground days due to moisture. Permanent rubber based surfacing would make for a much more efficient and useful playground area.”
The other items on the bond issue are storage lockers and a larger pull trailer for the band program, textbooks for all sites and a few new HVAC units. Payne said many units need to be replaced on the older buildings.
Additionally, there are some projects that will be completed during the summers of 2012 and 2013 that will be paid for using existing school funds.
Those projects are the renovation/upgrading of the current middle school and high school buildings, campus landscaping and replacement of some older air conditioner/heating units at the current high school.
“This is an important bond issue for our students,” Payne said. “With academic standards becoming more stringent, the extensive increase of online testing and the imminent start of the ‘Common Core,’ our technology needs are of the upmost importance.”
For more information about the bond election, call Payne at (918) 266-7227.