The message below was emailed to Shawnee Public Schools families on January 29, 2024, following a special meeting of the Shawnee Board of Education.

Shawnee Families,

At the beginning of this school year, I made a promise to you that I will honor and respect the choice you have made of Shawnee Public Schools with every action I take. Part of honoring your choice means that I share with you information that affects your students and our school district. Tonight, in an effort to make Shawnee Public Schools stronger than ever, the Shawnee Board of Education called for a special bond election for April 2, 2024.

This bond package is the largest and most comprehensive student investment plan in the history of Shawnee, all with no tax increase. If voters vote to approve this student investment plan, it will fundamentally change the opportunities and educational environment we offer to our students, staff, and community. This bond package was planned with stakeholder input through the Capital Improvements Committee that included parents, community and business leaders, teachers, and administrators. This committee evaluated all the district’s needs, from installing new classroom carpet to replacing our beloved Stucker Complex.

The bond package’s goal is to help the district take the devastation from the April 19, 2023, storm and turn it into an opportunity for all Shawnee students. The plan has two propositions.

Proposal 1 is a 10-year, $39-million lease revenue bond netting $26 million for construction purposes. Again, this proposal is possible with no tax increase. This proposal includes such projects as

  • ongoing funding for maintenance and technology to decrease the burden of operational expenses;

  • meeting the gap between insurance funds and replacement costs on a large amount of HVAC units across the district;

  • constructing a Stucker Complex with a bigger capacity for our wrestling program and high school safe room;

  • building a first-class tennis facility;

  • constructing a new agriculture facility that will provide greater opportunities for our growing Ag program;

  • replacing the drive surrounding Shawnee Middle School and constructing a multi-purpose building adjacent to the SMS Field House;

  • providing new band uniforms and marching band storage adjacent to Jim Thorpe Stadium;

  • and much more.

Proposal 2 is a repurposing of the remaining funds allocated during the 2016 bond election for the construction of a new elementary school. This proposal would net $8.1 million for construction purposes and, when added with funding from other sources, provide $12.4 million for needed improvements and renovations to our existing five elementary schools (Shawnee Early Childhood Center, Horace Mann, Jefferson, Sequoyah, and Will Rogers).

Circumstances have changed since the passing of the bond by our community in 2016. The greater Shawnee area adding another high school, a global pandemic, and the April 19 tornado all led to significant changes to our district enrollment. New third-party, independent studies have given us data showing that a new elementary site - the final project of the 2016 bond - is no longer necessary. Plus, reallocating the funds allows the district to remodel elementary bathrooms and windows, refurbish elementary exteriors, and replace classroom and hallway flooring where needed. These reallocated funds would also provide safer schools with updated intercoms, new drives at Sequoyah and Jefferson, and a security vestibule at SECC. The choice for our voters is this: build a new elementary school that will serve 250 students, or repurpose the funds to serve all 1,700 elementary students.

I want to ensure that you have all the information you need about the bond proposal. In an effort to continue being transparent and have open communication with you and our entire community, the district will be hosting a "State of the Schools" presentation at the Performing Arts and Athletic Center on February 12 at 6 p.m. This presentation will be an opportunity to share with you about what is happening in Shawnee Public Schools and what we are planning for your student’s future. We will have several community forums at some of our elementary schools in the near future, and we will soon have a space on our website coming soon that will provide more detailed information. As always, you may contact our district office or email us at with any questions or concerns.

Thank you for the privilege of allowing me to serve as your superintendent.


Dr. Aaron Espolt