The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Local and State News

July 2, 2014

Take Shelter launches 2nd try to get storm shelters in schools

OKLAHOMA CITY — A group seeking to put storm shelters in Oklahoma schools has launched its second effort after a previous effort failed.

Take Shelter Oklahoma started its newest petition drive today, Wednesday, July 2, 2014, 15 months after tornadoes killed 47 people in Oklahoma, including seven children in an Oklahoma City metro-area elementary school, in May 2013.

The initiative petition calls for a statewide vote on a $500 million state bond issue to provide storm shelters and enhanced school security measures. Repayment of the bond would come for the state’s General Revenue Fund, leaving it to the Legislature on how to fund the program.

Supporters of the petition say schools are too bonded in debt to pay for the shelters.

The initiative petition was filed with the Secretary of State and the Attorney General on June 26. Signature collection begins Friday, July 4. State law requires 155,216 registered Oklahoma voters sign the initiative petition in order for it to be placed on the ballot this November. The 90-day signature collection period ends Sept. 25.

Signatures cannot be accepted online, but the group will have the petition available to download from its website, TakeShelterOklahoma.com. Directions on how to print the petition, collect and notarize signatures and mail the results are included.

Take Shelter's first initiative petition that would have brought a vote to Oklahoma residents was abandoned in April after the state attorney general made significant changes to the ballot title. A press release from Take Shelter Oklahoma called the petition's failure the result of "partisan bickering." A legislative effort backed by Gov. Mary Fallin also failed.

The group launched its latest effort with support from some parents of children killed May 20, 2013, when two schools were destroyed.

 “Oklahoma schools desperately need storm shelters. No mother should fear if her child will come home from school alive. I will do everything I can to see that parents have an opportunity to let their voice be heard on this,” said Mikki Davis, whose 8-year-old son Kyle was among those who died at Plaza Towers Elementary.

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