The Norman Transcript

October 1, 2013

Shelters for students


The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — Supporters of a proposed bond issue to pay for storm shelters in Oklahoma schools are busy gathering signatures to place the issue on next year’s ballot. But our governor, Mary Fallin, won’t be one of the measure’s supporters.

The governor told The Tulsa World she didn’t think that the state mandating the shelters and paying for them would be the best way of doing it. The addition of storm shelters should be a local decision, not required by the state.

It’s estimated the shelters or safe rooms could be built for about $500 million. State Rep. Joe Dorman said the money to pay back the bonds could come from the state’s franchise tax revenue, which currently goes into the General Fund.

A second group is hoping for donations and grants to help pay for shelters. They may be able to tap into the multiple millions raised to date for tornado relief efforts.

The petition organizers group has 90 days to gather the 150,000 signatures. That will likely happen, and then the real campaign begins. Some districts already build shelters into their new schools and might resent having to pay for other districts. Additionally, areas that have never experienced the state’s violent weather may object to having to build a shelter.