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Bonding with Teachers

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Bonding with Teachers

Dr. Migliarino addresses teachers at NNHS.

Dr. Migliarino addresses teachers at NNHS.

| Oglesby

Dr. Migliarino addresses teachers at NNHS.

| Oglesby

| Oglesby

Dr. Migliarino addresses teachers at NNHS.

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Dr. Migliarino addressed the teachers’ staff meeting on Friday, Jan. 11, as the district planned a strategy to get the people to vote on the six-year municipal bond.  The elections is Feb. 12.  

Every Friday, teachers have a staff meeting to discuss issues surrounding North and to further discuss possible solutions to previously introduced projects. While the meetings usually focus directly on North and the students, Fridays meeting was all bond issue information.  

Dr. Nick Migliorino, the superintendent of Norman Public Schools, talked to the teachers about a new municipal bond, this time for $186 million. According to English teacher Amber Worster-Lawson, Dr. Migliorini’s main goal was to “communicate with all the teachers” how this bond money would be distributed.

“He mainly focused on what Norman North will get,” Worster-Lawson said when asked about the teacher meeting, “but he did give us a brief overview of the entire district. [The district] decided on the funding based on surveys that went out to parents, and most of the feedback did come from parents. There were some teachers involved as well, but most of them came from Norman Public School’s parents, and the top issue was security.”

Mrs. Worster-Lawson gave us an inside look at what actually took place at the teacher meeting

| Matthew White
Mrs. Worster-Lawson gave us an inside look at what actually took place at the teacher meeting

Here is the official NPS statement on their website:

“Safety and security for students is the cornerstone of a school bond proposal local voters will consider at the polls Feb. 12, 2019. The Norman Board of Education approved a resolution authorizing the school bond election at Monday’s board meeting.

“The 2019 bond proposal calls for significant investments in the safety and security of students and staff. In fact, if approved by voters, the bond would ensure that every school in the district has a storm shelter. Additional security measures include interior and exterior door enhancements, protective window film, security camera and alarm system upgrades, perimeter security and health services equipment. Several schools would also receive multi-classroom additions, library renovations and parking improvements.

“Fine Arts is also a key component of the proposal, as many schools would receive new or upgraded facilities for music, band and visual arts programs. Additionally, funding would be maximized by building the art facilities as school storm shelters.

“Projects identified in the school bond proposal were identified as a result of demographic studies, facility assessments and input from parents, teachers, staff and community stakeholders.

“The total bond proposal calls for an investment of $186 million over six years at a sinking fund millage target rate of 30. The ballot will feature two separate propositions, as school transportation bond projects are required by law to be listed as a separate proposition on the ballot. Thus, the first proposition, which is for the bulk of the bond projects, is $182.5 million.

“The second proposition, which is specifically for school transportation items, is $3.5 million.

“A school bond election is a bond issue used by a public school district to fund capital improvement projects, instructional materials and transportation needs. These measures are placed on the ballot by school boards to be considered by the voting public and require a supermajority of 60 percent of votes to pass. Historically, the Norman Public School District’s bond issues have served as steps in a long-term plan to maintain and enhance excellent educational opportunities. Norman voters have approved more than $432 million in school bond funds since 1972.”

There will be a significant increase in safety precautions, such as storm shelters in every school, that the bond will fund. The bond will also include door “enhancements,” something that has the potential to protect the schools from internal or external threats, however, the statement did not provide details on each item. There will also be upgrades to the security systems both inside and outside the school, as well as the purchase of additional safety equipment.

Fine arts is also a major portion of the bond, with the district preparing to make upgrades to the Nancy O’Brian Center as well as investing into other music and art programs. The band rooms in both high schools will also be upgraded and built in a way that they could double as a storm shelter.

One of the several differences between this bond and the one passed in 2014 is the overall investment in the district.  This bond will invest $186 million (compared to the $126 million passed five years ago). Another difference is the time frame for total funding of the bond.  This bond will take six years to pay back versus the five it took to pay off the last one. Finally, the new bond is deals more with internal improvements rather than external (the 2014 bond funded the college and career centers at both high schools as well as the construction of freshmen centers).

The new bond that public administrators are hoping will pass in February will solve a lot of issues that teachers have identified in their schools, but the national issue of teacher pay is still looming. Because of the one-year pay raise passed by the Oklahoma legislature, teachers are likely to walk-out once again despite massive influxes of funds from municipal bonds.

 

About the Contributor
Matthew White, Senior Editor

Senior editor of The Howl and editor-in-chief of The Everyday Republic. Very reserved at school, has made a lot of long-time friends from playing football.

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