Approval of a $354 million bond package for Tulsa County Independent School District No. 1 will continue a 20-year program that voters first endorsed in 1996, superintendent Keith Ballard said last week.

Voters in Tulsa will go to the polls March 2 to decide on the largest school bond proposal Oklahoma history.

With some 40,000 students, the school district is the largest in the state.

Speaking to the Press Club of Tulsa, Ballard said approval of the bonds would not require a property tax increase in the district’s tax rate of 23 mills.

He promised community oversight of all bond projects.

“Why should the citizens invest more dollars, at no tax increase, for Tulsa Public Schools?” Ballard asked.

“Well, I think it’s because we’re on the right track. I can tell you with total certainty that the projects were completed that were promised in the last election,” he said.

The four-part debt program includes $261.4 million for facility improvements, $61.3 million for textbooks and technology, $19.6 million for library materials, and $11.7 million for transportation needs.

The district’s GO bonds have underlying ratings of Aa2 from Moody’s Investors Service and AA from Standard & Poor’s.

The district has about $170 million of outstanding debt.

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