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Public schools to put $250M bonds to vote



The Oklahoma City Public Schools Board of Education approved putting nearly $250 million in bonds before voters this fall during its Monday night meeting.

If passed, the effort " the 2007 Capital Asset Maintenance and Improvement Plan " would not raise taxes, according to district officials. The bonds would go toward preserving and enhancing work already done through MAPS for Kids, with construction management remaining under the MAPS Trust Authority.

The draft plan calls for issuing $248.3 million in bonds, in four categories:
" $212 million for facilities, including adding classrooms to meet demographic and all-day kindergarten needs, adding gyms at elementary schools lacking them, and carrying out renovation efforts not covered by MAPS for Kids.
" $21 million for technology improvements, including replacing out-of-warranty computers, and updating library and media collections.
" $7.3 million for transportation needs, including replacing 37 decade-old buses.
" $8 million for safety-related expenses such as adding surveillance systems at schools and expanding security systems.
Each of the four categories will be voted on separately Oct. 9, officials said.

Several board members emphasized the importance of ensuring the projects promised come to fruition. District 6 representative David Castillo said the bond issuance is "desperately needed," but that constituents on the south side have to know what will be done for their schools to be convinced to support it.

"We're just expecting people to do what they say they're going to do," District 5 representative Thelma R. Parks added. "Emily Jerman

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