For Immediate Release
Duncan Public Schools’ Board of Education votes unanimously to approve the DPS 2020 Vision for the April 7, 2020 ballot.
Today, the Duncan Public Schools’ Board of Education voted unanimously to approve DPS 2020 Vision for the April 7, 2020 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. 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.
DPS 2020 Vision addresses several district needs in four key areas: safety, students, community and stewardship. In addition to this, the Board of Education worked tirelessly to ensure that every student, every program and every school benefit directly from any additional funding. 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.
In preparation for the bond initiative, the Board worked directly with staff over four years and conducted an exhaustive facilities’ review to ensure that critical needs were not overlooked. Superintendent Tom Deighan, who joined the district in July, then worked closely with staff and parent groups to identify priorities. To ensure future accountability and continued excellence, Dr. Deighan and the Board are currently identifying members of the community to serve on a newly established Bond Oversight Committee.
The DPS 2020 Vision investment program focuses on several short-term projects as well as long term, recurring needs. About 50% of the funding is for construction and improvements which would be acquired immediately through lease-revenue bonds. The remaining funds will be accessed annually in equal installments to ensure the district can continue strategic operations and improvements.
Areas of student safety include the addition of safe rooms/storm shelters at Duncan High School and Halliburton Stadium. DPS 2020 Vision also includes security fencing for playgrounds and high-traffic areas around Duncan High School. For faster and more uniform communications in emergencies, VOIP phones will be installed in each classroom, which will also save the district upwards of $40,000 annually. And finally, funding will ensure that the district does not fall behind on recent security upgrades.
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. 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.
Several community-focused projects are included in the bond package as well. The Duncan High Auditorium, the largest in Duncan, has never been renovated and is badly in need of HVAC, roofing, sound equipment, and lights. Parking for the softball field and community access to Halliburton Stadium is also addressed. This not only includes new public restrooms and concession areas but also increased ADA access for games and graduations. The DPS Board of education believes everyone should be able to comfortably visit this historic Duncan landmark.
Finally, the Board of Education recognizes its responsibility of stewardship, so DPS 2020 Vision allocates annual, recurring funding to repair district roofs and HVAC systems in order to ensure the district does not fall behind in these critical areas. The Board also has set aside funding to upgrade all district lighting to L.E.D. to improve education and to save the district a projected $100,000 per year. The transportation department, which regularly floods, will also be relocated. The facility will eventually house maintenance and the district warehouse for increased efficiency. Annual funding for non-student vehicles is included as well.
In the coming weeks, Duncan Public Schools will provide more information on a regular basis regarding DPS 2020 Vision through various media and on the district webpage. Simply visit www.duncanps.org and click on DPS Vision 2020 Investment Program to see the latest information.