Randy Hughes

McAlester Public Schools Superintendent Randy Hughes says upcoming bond propositions will help the school be innovative.

Teachers watch a video of technology advances that ends with an artificial intelligent robot opening a door for another.

McAlester Public Schools Superintendent Randy Hughes showed the video to MPS employees during Tuesday’s in-service to help detail two upcoming bond propositions totaling more than $2.5 million to fund buses and STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) improvements at the school.

“We can be innovative, we can change — and that's what this bond is going to do,” Hughes said. “It's going to give us the opportunity for our kids to be one-to-one with devices. It's going to give us the opportunity to build these STEAM rooms in our school. And the other part is transportation.”

The McAlester Public Schools Board of Education voted in June to call a special election on Sept. 10, 2019, for voters to consider two propositions — one totaling $1,485,000 for technology and other improvements, another for $1,200,000 for buses.

Hughes said the bond propositions call for an 8% increase, which would raise his taxes $136 per year.

Proposition No. 1 states MPS shall incur an indebtedness by issuing bonds in the sum of $1,485,000 for “constructing, equipping, repairing and remodeling school buildings, acquiring school furniture, fixtures and equipment and acquiring and improving school sites.”

The proposition calls for $910,000 of the bond to fund technology across the district, and $575,000 to fund improvements for STEM classrooms at McAlester High School, Puterbaugh Middle School and Parker Intermediate School.

Proposition No. 2 calls for bonds totaling $1,200,000 to fund “vehicles for pupil transportation” — which Hughes said would be for more school buses.

He said the MPS bus fleet “is old” and had six down at one time last year. Plans call for MPS to purchase two activity buses, four route buses, and one mini-bus in the first year if the bond passes, before purchasing a new bus per year through the next five years, Hughes said.

Hughes hopes the propositions pass and plans further in the future to propose a $35 million bond issue for a seventh- and eighth-grade center with a gym.

But he said the propositions set for the September ballot offer more immediate help in moving the school forward.

“Good is the greatest enemy of great because when we get good, we stop and we don't improve,” Hughes said.

Hughes said he will use “elevate” as his word for the year to challenge himself to elevate his performance. He said he learned how to tweet and continued planning for the future to improve before challenging MPS employees to elevate their performance in connecting with and helping students.

The superintendent said some of his goals for the district include building relationships and increasing scores, but he wants employees to continue innovating and improving to benefit students.

Hughes reviewed some of the district’s building projects with a 4,650-square-feet of safe rooms and classrooms at Puterbaugh and plans to expand at Will Rogers Elementary.

He also thanked Life Church in McAlester for donating $34,000 to purchase iPad for “all of our elementary.”

Contact Adrian O’Hanlon III at aohanlon@mcalesternews.com