The Norman Transcript

September 20, 2013

Shelters for schools


The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — Two groups are working to secure funding for storm shelters in Oklahoma public schools. One group is working through private donations, and the other wants a $500 million statewide bond issue to pay for them. The tragic loss of life at a Moore elementary school is driving the issue. Districts throughout the state are reworking disaster plans. Even the University of Oklahoma is researching storm shelters for dorm students and others.

Take Shelter Oklahoma filed its initiative petition paperwork with the Oklahoma secretary of state this week. Once the attorney general rules the petition valid, organizers have 90 days to get about 160,000 signatures to put the vote on a statewide ballot.

Organizers want the existing franchise tax fees to fund the bond issue. Voters may do what Oklahoma lawmakers can’t seem to agree on. They have passed on attempts to bond repairs on the Capitol building and complete the half-finished, state-owned American Indian Cultural Center at Interstate 35 and I-40.

Individual districts will likely begin building shelters into any future bond projects. Safety and security already are high-priority items in any project built in the last decade.

We think Oklahomans will sign the petition and give it solid approval when it comes up for a vote.