All summer the Shawnee Public Schools District has been up against a deadline, in a race to finish work before classes rev up again. Many of the $32 million bond projects voted in by residents in 2016 have been underway as children celebrated their break from school.

All summer the Shawnee Public Schools District has been up against a deadline, in a race to finish work before classes rev up again. Many of the $32 million bond projects voted in by residents in 2016 have been underway as children celebrated their break from school.

All the district's schools have had ongoing construction projects in the works, many of which are too complex to be finished by next week.

SPS Superintendent Dr. April Grace said Horace Mann and Sequoyah had HVAC and roofing done and the secure entrances will be finished later in the fall.

“Construction will be an ongoing project throughout the year (at Horace Mann),” she said, “and the two-classroom addition at Sequoyah is being prepped.

The Will Rogers design is at over 75-percent completion and Jefferson is at 65-percent, she said.

The addition of a new elementary school is underway.

“We are still having conversations and considering options related to the New Elementary site,” she said. “We will hopefully know more in the next 45-60 days.”

Though not bond issue-related, a noticeable change in routine this year concerns the bus route system.

“We did reduce the routes and adjust driver schedules which is what led to time changes (in classes),” Grace said. “We went to a three-tiered system versus a two-tiered system like we had.”

This change will allow the district to better, and more efficiently, serve students and families as buses can run more on schedule when there aren't shortages of drivers, she said.

“We also believe this will assist with driver retention, as this allows us to have fewer drivers, but contracts that allow for benefits such as health insurance,” Grace said.

The district welcomes 38 new teachers this year. Though the high school will see the bulk of new teachers, of the elementary schools Jefferson will get five; Sequoyah and Will Rogers are each receiving four; and Horace Mann and Shawnee Early Childhood Center are each getting one.

Shawnee's first day of school is Aug. 17.

Will Rogers Back-to-School night is from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Aug. 16. SECC, Horace Mann, Jefferson and Sequoyah Back-to-School night events have yet to be determined.

Visit the SPS website, at shawnee.k12.ok.us, for updated information.