On June 8, 2021, Tulsans will vote on the 2021 Bond for Tulsa Public Schools, a $414 million investment in Tulsa children. Proposition 4 of the bond package dedicates $19.9 million to increasing access to programs with proven success in preparing students for college and careers, including early childhood education, dual language learning opportunities, and postsecondary career education.
Postsecondary career-education programs offer dynamic high school experiences for students as they focus on life after graduation. For example, at Hale High School, students can cook up a delicious dish for their fellow students and community members in their culinary classes and a construction program will launch in the fall. Through partnerships with Tulsa Tech, students can study engineering at Memorial High School and manufacturing at McLain High School. Students at Webster can learn about agriculture and video production. The goal with the proposed 2021 bond package is to create even more opportunities like these across the district to help every student find their passion before they graduate.
“We're not only investing in the college-bound kids. We're investing in kids that are going to go straight into the workforce,” said Edison Principal Clay Vinyard. “The funding that we get, the things that we provide for our kids, is all relative to what kind of citizen we're producing and putting out into Tulsa. Investing in us gives those kids an opportunity to have their best chance at success whatever that means to them.”
Investing in postsecondary opportunities gives schools the flexibility to tailor their program expansions to the needs of the job market, preparing students not just for any job, but ones that will be in high demand in the future -- like cybersecurity and robotics.
“We have a lot of growth industries here in Tulsa that we are focused on preparing our students for,” said Dominick Dresel, Tulsa Public Schools Director of Postsecondary Readiness. “The bond will provide the funds to put a vision into reality around something that the community wants.”
These career-education programs also work to close the skills gap Oklahoma is facing.
“By 2025, most of the jobs that are newly created in Oklahoma will require some kind of post-secondary credential, but that the workforce overall is way behind that,” said Dresel. “In order for our students to be able to tap into economic opportunities, they need to be able to tap in to access these kinds of jobs. The world is changing rapidly. We can’t just keep offering what we were offering 20 years ago.”
You can find more information and details on each proposition at www.tulsaschools.org/2021bond. The proposed bond package is designed to keep property taxes level.
Early voting is available on Thursday, June 3 and Friday, June 4 from 8am-6pm at the Tulsa County Election Board. The Tulsa Voter Van will provide free rides to the polls for Tulsa voters. Contact them at 918-200-9153 or www.tulsavotervan.com. Click here to find your polling place to vote on June 8.