An all across the board “yes” from Duncan Public Schools Board of Education members will put a measure on the April ballot in hopes of citizen approval for what the district is calling “DPS 2020 Vision.”
According to information from the school district, the DPS 2020 Vision will serve as a “10-year student investment program” and will go before area voters on the April 7 ballot.
“The 10-year student investment program for $27,775,000 is not projected to raise taxes and will appear on the ballot as two propositions: one for facilities/equipment and one for student transportation,” states information from the district. “Duncan Public Schools has been identified by officials with the Oklahoma State School Boards Association as a statewide leader in strategic planning and implementation. If approved by voters, DPS 2020 Vision will help ensure that important work continues.”
If approved by the voters, school administration says the initiative will target four select key areas, including “safety, students, community and stewardship.”
“The Board of Education worked tirelessly to ensure that every student, every program and every school benefit directly from any additional funding,” states Duncan Public Schools. “By avoiding any projected tax increase, Duncan Public Schools district millage rates will remain about 50% less than school millage rates (property tax) for neighboring districts.”
The request for voter support stems from board members and staff working together over a period of four years while also reviewing facilities. Work continued when Superintendent Dr. Tom Deighan joined as Duncan’s head administrator.
Now, the district is seeking for community members to serve on the Bond Oversight Committee, recently put together.
The decade-long measure with no projected tax increase will look to target both short-term and long-term projects.
“About 50% of the funding is for construction and improvements which would be acquired immediately through lease-revenue bonds,” states information from the district. “The remaining funds will be accessed annually in equal installments to ensure the district can continue strategic operations and improvements.”
Some key areas of interest the district wants to use this money to invest in includes safe rooms or storm shelters at Duncan High and the stadium, security fencing for playgrounds and areas with high-traffic around the high school, adding “VOIP” phones to classes “for faster and more uniform communication … which will also save the district upwards of $40,000 annually,” and funding to make sure DPS doesn’t fall behind on recent security upgrades, according to the initiative’s information.
“All funding in DPS 2020 Vision impacts students, but certain categories directly impact DPS students every day – twenty-percent (20%) of this investment initiative is allocated for program equipment and materials, ensuring consistency for a decade,” states a release from the district. “This includes areas such as learning materials, textbooks, student furniture and technology. Playground improvements and accessibility for special needs students will directly impact students and enhance neighborhoods. Properly sized and equipped locker rooms for groups like soccer and track are also slated to be constructed at Halliburton Stadium. The district has replaced much of its bus fleet in recent years, so annual funding will be set aside to ensure that the DPS fleet stays current, safe and reliable.”
Other target areas are also on the list if the measure is approved by voters. If the support is there on election day, other uses for the funds include updating the Duncan High Auditorium, which has never been renovated. If approved, money will also go to this facility to address HVAC, roofing, sound equipment and lighting needs.
Other highlights include parking for the softball field and “community access to Halliburton Stadium,” as well as new public restrooms and concession and “ADA access for games and graduations.”
Additionally, the DPS 2020 Vision, if approved, would set aside funds yearly for “recurring funding to repair district roofs and HVAC systems in order to ensure the district does not fall behind in these critical areas” as well as upgrading the entire district to L.E.D. lighting in an effort to cut back on student distractions while also saving the district an estimated $100,000 per year.
Finally, if approved, the district will look to move the transportation department “which regularly floods” and the new facility will also house maintenance and the district warehouse together.
More information about the initiative will continue to develop. For more information, visit www.duncanps.org and click on DPS Vision 2020 Investment Program to see the latest information.