By KELSY LORIN TAYLOR
Web Editor and Feature Writer
LOOKING AHEAD: Union Board of Education’s Jeff Bennett feels that being involved in education is very important, especially since his children have attended school in the district. He looks forward to seeing the bond issue put into place through the Union Collegiate Academy. He is photographed with his wife Wanda and his oldest son Michael.
Courtesy JEFF BENNETT
An overwhelming vote recently approved two important components for education within Union Public Schools. The board of education will continue strong with the reelection of Jeff Bennett to Zone One while the anticipated Union Collegiate Academy will be completed through a $21.6 million bond issue.
Bennett has enjoyed being a part of the board of education for five years and is looking forward to the upcoming term. Having been a part of the community through his children, he feels that it is important to be involved with education. “With my involvement, I have the opportunity to continue the tradition of providing quality education to our children. It is such a rewarding position to have,” says Bennett.
While his oldest son Michael was attending Union High School, Bennett decided to run for an open seat with the board. The special election in November sat him in the available seat. “It was very unique to have my signature on his diploma later that year,” he notes.
This election, Bennett’s son had the chance to help his father. “The reelection of my seat was held in the first year that my son was able to vote. It was so special to know that his vote helped me stay involved with the board of education.”
The primary goal that Bennett has during this term is to tend to the Collegiate Academy, which the entire board of education hopes to take to great heights in the years to come.
Specifically the bond issue, which is appropriately titled Ahead of the Curve, will bring the opportunity for Union to remain on the leading edge of innovations in education.
The Collegiate Academy will give students the opportunity to leave high school with college credit through unique classes taught on campus. “Union is very proactive in hosting a bond issue every year. Our bonding compacity includes the promise of not raising taxes while addressing the most important aspects of the district,” he explains.
The needs that are addressed are most often for academics, maintenance and construction of new facilities for the district. The board receives a list of priorities and the Collegiate Academy was placed at the top of that list.
A brand new wing will be the newest addition to Union High School, providing a place for students to enjoy their upper level classes and become prepared for entering into colleges around the world. He adds, “The bond dollars will allow us to complete the building, which will be the bricks and mortar of what has already been taking place in the classroom. Students are currently in concurrent enrollment with area institutions.”
With the beginning of the program, it is hoped that each student will graduate from Union High School with a minimum of six hours of college credit. This vision will expand as the program grows over the next few years.
Union is one of two districts in Oklahoma that have been granted concurrent enrollment through the Board of Regents, Tulsa Public Schools being the other. With the passage of the bond and continued leadership of Bennett, the Collegiate Academy will ensure that students take full advantage of college preparation.
For additional information about the Union Collegiate Academy or the Board of Education, call 918-459-5432 or visit www.unionps.org.