School districts are limited in the amount of funding they receive from the state and these funds have been steadily decreasing each year. Approximately 90 percent of the state aid for each district is allocated to personnel, highly qualified teachers, administrators and support staff. Once that obligation is met, the remaining state aid is used for operating costs; fuel, electricity, natural gas and propane, water, sewage, etc. There is not enough funding left to pay for the upkeep or additions to our facilities, band program, choir program, security systems, technology, or many of the other items that support our efforts to educate children.
When a school district proposes a bond issue, there is a very clear description of the items to which the money will be allocated. Furthermore, bond funds do not go toward paying for either the city sports complex or the high school. By law the school district must spend a minimum of 85 percent of the funds on the stated projects to ensure that taxpayers are receiving the items on which they voted. Districts are not allowed to pay salaries from the bonds, nor are they allowed to pay for the operating costs previously listed. Quite simply, the communities approving bond issues are filling the gap left by inadequate state funding to provide, in our case, one of the finest educational settings in the state. Research has shown that students attending aesthetically pleasing facilities such as ours perform better on assessments and have a higher level of academic success.
On March 5th, you are being asked to vote on a school bond that will allow Durant Public Schools to continue the tradition of excellence at no additional cost to property owners. The school board, staff and community have had input on the following items presented in this bond issue:
Technology and Instruction
- · Textbooks and Instructional Software
- · Security Updates District Wide
- · Instructional Technology Servers
- · Instructional, Financial, and Security Software
- · Student Laptops and Teacher Workstations
Fine Arts Program
- · Choir Equipment District Wide
- · Band and Orchestra Equipment District Wide
- · High School Drama
Construction and Renovation
- · Durant Middle School – Flooring, Lighting, Gym Floor, Wrestling Room, Concession
Stand, Field House and Bleachers
- · Durant Intermediate School – Security Doors, Playground, and Parking Lot
- · Robert E. Lee Elementary – Playground Security, Plumbing, Restrooms, and Parking Lot
- · Washington Irving Elementary – New Classrooms, Security Gates, and Restrooms
- · Northwest Heights Elementary – New Classrooms, Security Entrances, Restrooms, and
- · Multi-Purpose Facility
- · Central Enrollment – Central Receiving Renovation
- · Classroom Furniture District Wide
Transportation and Maintenance
- · Maintenance Equipment
- · School Vehicles – Student and Staff Transportation
- · Transportation Department Parking Upgrades (Paving and cover for district vehicles)
- · Roofing Repairs District Wide
- · HVAC District Wide
Vehicles for Student Transportation
- · Student Route Buses
- · Student Activity Buses
The planned classroom additions will reduce overcrowded rooms and improve the security of students who are currently in buildings not connected to the main building. There will be no land purchased for building new schools. All new construction will be on currently owned school land and additions to existing buildings. The proposed multi-purpose facility will house a wide variety of activities including, but not limited to, band, cheerleading, soccer, baseball, softball, track and football. The majority of 5A districts in the state and in our region currently have an indoor facility for their student activities. The multipurpose facility will greatly benefit the district and community by encouraging participation and building successful programs for our students. Included in this facility is a new women’s locker room for the female athletes who participate in extracurricular activities.
Each time the community has graciously voted to support the district with the passage of bond issues, the Durant school district has successfully provided more than originally proposed. This commitment to value mangement will continue as we endeavor to be good stewards of the taxpayers’ funds.
Our mission as educators is to provide the best possible education for the children you entrust to us every day. Everything we do is student focused, from the support personnel who clean the buildings to the classroom teacher planning lessons and sponsoring clubs. The same student focus can be found in the bond issues you are currently considering. Every item on the proposal will serve the students and community and not one dollar is designated for salary or any other type of compensation. Research consistently proves the investment you make in students is an investment in reducing the crime rate, increasing high school graduation rates and producing a citizen who will be a productive member of our community. We ask that if you have questions, please call us for accurate information. Do not associate us with elected officials currently embroiled in political discord or the irrational arguments currently underway in our state and federal governments. Your support will help us accomplish our mission and continue the excellence.