2016 BOND ISSUE SUMMARY
Voters approved $19.4 million over a five year period for multiple purposes:
Saving Jobs & Preserving Class Sizes
The primary focus of the bond issue is to compensate for huge cuts in state funding since 2009. The district suffered multiple state revenue shortfalls in 2016 and cut 5% of its teachers as well additional administrators and support staff.
The bond will allow the district to shift more operational costs from its general fund to bond issue funds to hopefully prevent additional staffing cuts and increases in class sizes in 2017. The bond expands on operational funding already being provided via a 2012 bond issue and extends that expanded support for two additional years. It is projected that 15 or more teaching positions can be preserved from future cuts by shifting operational costs to bond funds.
Improving Instructional Technology, Equipment, and Facilities
The bond will provide students with the instructional technology other districts now offer but which our students lack. Since the state has now cut all textbook funding, the bond will provide both physical and digital textbooks. The bond will support and expand new STEM programs in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. It will also maintain buildings and update classrooms and their furnishings that are up to 99 years old.
Targeted High-Priority Renovations
The bond will also provide improvements in existing facilities previously identified as top priorities by community members on the district's Long Range Facilities Planning Committee, but which bond capacity limits prevented us from addressing in the 2013 reconfiguration bond issue.
In January 2017 the Bartlesville Public School District will open bids for 15 new route buses, two new activity buses, and two people-mover vehicles. The 15 new route buses will replace all of the buses in the district which date back to 1998 or earlier. The new activity buses and people-movers will feature Bruins graphics; a preliminary draft rendering is shown at right (click the image to enlarge it). The activity buses will feature equipment storage space below the seating area.
Hopefully a bid can be awarded in mid-January so that the district can take delivery of the new vehicles by the end of the 2016-2017 school year.
The five tennis courts at the high school are so decrepit that the school is unable to host tournaments. The school board awarded a $875,880 bid to Merritt Sealing Company to replace the courts.
Demolition of those courts and two adjacent parking areas is scheduled to begin on January 3. Merritt Tennis Court & Track Systems
estimates it will take at least 100 days, plus weather and other typical construction delays, to construct six new courts.
The new courts will feature walkways on the north and south sides providing access to a new seating area in the middle of the court complex. Wind screens on the north and south sides will feature the Bruins logo, and the courts will be blue with a green background. They will meet USTA US Open specifications. The bid came in low enough that lighting could be added on six poles, operable by a cell phone application and with an auto timer. The former lower parking lot west of the courts will become a green space.
Doornbos Track resurfacing
The old cinder track at the high school was replaced in 1988 by the Chuck Doornbos Track
, made possible by a $150,000 donation from Doornbos family members Foster Doornbos and Ami Preston. Chuck was a track star in high school and at the University of Kansas. The family later contributed $33,000
towards the $266,000 refurbishment of the track in 2004, which included re-marking the track and improved its edging. By 2016 the track surface was worn out and needed replacement.
In September the school board awarded $20,345 to install a new polyurethane track surface. That work is slated to begin on January 4, 2017 and should take between 10 to 14 days for completion if the weather cooperates.
Superintendent Chuck McCauley indicated that by popular demand the new surface will again be Bruin blue.
Phillips Field House Renovations
The Phillips Field House
currently serves the wrestling, cheerleading, pom, and physical education programs, including weight rooms for physical education and for athletics. All of the programs are underserved by the existing facility.
Athletic Weight Room Relocation
The athletic weight room is currently located in the smaller of the auxiliary gyms built in 1968. It will be relocated to a remodeled space within the Bruin Activity Center
now under construction.
The relocation of the athletic weight room will allow the pompon
program to move out of the old auto shop area at the southwest corner of the field house to the smaller of the two gyms added in 1968. A former drafting room at the northwest corner of the original field house will be remodeled into a pom locker room with adjoining restroom and side office.
The physical education program will continue to use the area between the smaller of the auxiliary gyms and the main gym as a weight room. The locker rooms east of there will be renovated into revamped boys and girls locker rooms to better serve the needs of both physical education and visiting teams for events in the main gym of the Phillips Field House. The larger auxiliary gym will have some floor, lighting, and wall treatment improvements.
The wrestling program has long been housed in a former shop at the southeast corner of the Phillips Field House. That area will be expanded westward and the lighting and ventilation in the area will have much-needed upgrades. On the opposite side of the main gym a wrestling locker room will be located just south of the larger auxiliary gym, with an adjoining meeting room suitable for video assessment for that program and others, along with a wrestling office located just across a corridor.
The band program already uses basement space below the Phillips Field House for percussion, with a ramp connecting that area with the ensemble room in the 2004 Fine Arts Center. A similar connection on a higher level will be made with a ramp in the 2004 Band Room connecting it with the old auto shop in the Phillips Field House. That area is currently used by pom. The ceiling will be raised and the area reworked to provide another practice room for both the band and orchestra programs. The adjoining classroom to the west will be reworked for storage for the instrumental music classes.
The historic main gym was the primary basketball venue for the Phillips 66ers
, College High Wildcats, and Bartlesville Bruins
until the Bruin Field House
opened in 2006. The architect for the renovations, Dan Keleher, indicated at the December 2016 school board meeting that he plans to include some floor, lighting, and wall treatment upgrades in the main gym. He indicated the lobby area
would also receive some upgrades.
Fine Arts Center Renovations
The 2004 Fine Arts Center
remains the showpiece of the high school campus. However, it was designed to serve grades 11-12 and will have some changes to help support its current uses for grades 9-12. The FLEX computer lab between the orchestra and visual arts room will be gutted along with an adjoining restroom and part of an office/storage room to form another choir ensemble room. This will help ease the pressure in the existing ensemble room between the choir and band rooms.
A ramp in the band room will provide access to another practice room for use by the band and orchestra programs and a storage area in the old auto shop area of the adjacent Phillips Field House for the instrumental music programs.
The FAC manager's office will be relocated, probably to an existing room off the main lobby.
The Bruin Activity Center was initially opened in 2009. Occupying part of the former site of the Crestview Apartments, the facility initially provided 15,625 square feet of turf surface to finally allow for indoor practice for various athletics programs.
In 2011 the building was expanded with an additional bay.
2016-2017 Remodel for Athletic Weight Room & Cheerleading
The historic Phillips Field House was built in 1939 with funding from Frank Phillips as a manual training facility and gym for students at the new College High as well as a home court for his Phillips 66ers corporate basketball team. It needs renovation and repurposing of various areas to adequately serve today's athletics and performing arts programs. Part of the Bruin Activity Center will be used to relocate the athletic weight room and provide a dedicated area for cheerleading, freeing up space in the old field house. The bay added in 2011 to the Bruin Activity Center is being partitioned off to form an athletics weight room and an area for the cheerleaders to practice in. That will free up space in the 1968 addition to the Phillips Field House which can become a new and improved home for the pom program.
At the December meeting of the Bartlesville Board of Education, architect Dan Keleher indicated the plan was to have the metal wall up dividing the remaining turf area from the remodel area up by the end of Winter Break.
The students in the Bartlesville Public Schools will benefit greatly from two bond issue proposals approved by district voters on Tuesday, August 23, 2016.
Voters approved issuing $17,450,000 in bonds for various operational needs and facility improvements over the next five years as well as $1,950,000 in bonds for buses and other vehicles.
Over 70% of the total issuance is focused on shifting operational/general fund expenses to bond funds to help preserve teaching positions and class sizes in the face of continuing severe state budget cuts.
SUPPORTERS CELEBRATE AT WATCH PARTY
Supporters gathered on Tuesday night at the Freshman Academy Conference Center to see the election results. They celebrated the overwhelming support the issues received despite the difficult economic environment and an increase in property taxes that will bring the district's bond issue millage to just below the average of its peer districts across the state. The bond campaign's theme was, "Small Change - Big Difference" based on how the average property tax increase on a $100,000 home will be about a dime a day.
At the watch party Superintendent Chuck McCauley celebrated the successful vote, saying, "I am truly humbled. This is a great day for our kids, this is a great day for our staff, this is a great day for Bartlesville."
McCauley, who in March was selected to succeed previous Supt. Dr. Gary Quinn, thanked Scott Bilger, President of the Bartlesville Board of Education, and the other board members. "Scott truly had a vision to move forward with this bond...I am so thankful that we moved forward with this. Truthfully, this is not something that was on my radar."
He went on to thank the many volunteers from the community who assisted with all aspects of the campaign along with the teachers, staff, and board members who helped craft and support the proposals. Later that week, in a letter to the editor of the Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise, McCauley directly expressed his thanks to the district's voters (reproduced later in this post). School board president Bilger said, "This is the most excited I've been about the future of this community. Thank you to everybody who put in countless hours putting this together...a lot of folks who don't have kids in school anymore but looked at this and said this is what we need to do because it's the right thing to do and it's the right thing for the future of the community."
BOND ISSUE COMPONENTS
Over the next five years, the bonds will provide:
- $4.7 million for facility maintenance, including furniture, HVAC, carpet, roofs, and safety upgrades
- $3.4 million for curricular needs, including both physical and digital textbooks as well as science and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) equipment and supplies
- $2.8 million for technology, focused on a 5-year roll-out of Chromebooks for every student in grades 5-12 and classroom devices in the lower grades
- 2.2 million for transportation, including replacing 15 buses purchased before 2000 and providing two activity buses and other vehicles
- $670,000 for extracurricular activity support, including athletics and fine arts uniforms, instruments, and other equipment
It will also fund $5.7 million in facility projects, including:
- Rebuild the tennis courts and renovate the Doornbos Track at the high school
- Renovate pea gravel and borders at elementary school playgrounds
- Additional music rooms by renovating and repurposing space in the Phillips Field House at Bartlesville High School and some old locker room space at Madison Middle School (the former Mid-High/Sooner High)
- Renovating and reallocating space for wrestling, cheer, pom, and weightlifting at the high school in the Phillips Field House and Bruin Activity Center (indoor practice facility)
- Provide locker rooms for cross country, track, and tennis in the bottom level of Custer Stadium
- Build a softball locker room at Madison Middle School
- Minor repairs to Doenges Memorial Stadium for the baseball team
- Update both middle school auditoriums
- Build a bus loop and replace original HVAC systems at Madison Middle School
The district will be able to issue some of the new bonds in late fall, so the first round of funding will be available as it develops the budget for the 2017-2018 school year.
Boost in Operational Funds
Given the continued state income tax cuts and struggling petroleum sector, the district expects state per pupil funding will remain low and is likely to drop even further. The bonds will allow more operational expenses to be shifted to bond monies beginning in 2017-2018, allowing the district to devote even more of its general fund to salaries in order to preserve teaching positions and class sizes.
The purchase of new buses to replace 15 buses that are now over 17 years old will be an early priority, along with purchase of two activity buses for out-of-town events to be used by athletics and fine arts. The district plans to purchase the new buses as rapidly as possible to improve the efficiency and reliability of the fleet.
The highest-priority facility projects are replacement of the tennis courts and Doornbos track at Bartlesville High School. It is hoped those facilities might be completed by spring so that the school could begin hosting events again.
Also likely to be completed by the start of the 2017-2018 school year are replacing pea gravel with mulch and replacing timbers with plastic borders at the elementary school playgrounds.
A multi-year roll-out of Chromebooks for secondary school students will begin in August 2017 when every freshman receives a Chromebook to use at school and at home. Preparations to shift towards digital assignments and curricula are already underway, according to Granger Meador, who will become the district's Executive Director of Technology and Communications in June 2017. The high school is now piloting a new online system, Canvas, to support online course calendars, assignments, and secure discussions. In the coming weeks, carts of Chromebooks will be deployed in the 10th-12th grade English classrooms for students to use at school.
Larger renovation projects at the Phllips Field House at the high school, Central and Madison middle schools, and Hoover and Jane Phillips elementary schools will begin later once sufficient bond funding becomes available.
In the coming weeks, the district will be developing a strategy to document progress on the various bond projects at its bond issues website, bruinbond.com
, to assure voters that the funding they approved is being used appropriately.