Claremore Daily Progress

State/Nation

September 26, 2013

Survey shows most schools without shelter

OKLAHOMA CITY —

More than 60 percent of the public schools in Oklahoma have no refuge or safe area in place to withstand a violent tornado, according to a survey released Thursday by proponents of a ballot measure to place storm shelters in schools.
The survey of all 517 school districts in Oklahoma shows more than 1,100 schools, or 61.5 percent, have no shelter or safe area, said Rep. Joe Dorman, D-Rush Springs, who is pushing a ballot initiative for a $500 million bond issue to help schools pay for storm shelters or safe rooms.
Conducted by Bar None Consulting over a two-month period from July to September, the survey was paid for by Coreslab Structures, a company that manufactures precast concrete products with two plants in Oklahoma.
The survey indicates that of the 695 Oklahoma public schools with a shelter area, fewer than half of those are designed to withstand winds of more than 250 miles per hour, Dorman said.
Dorman said he believes it’s “absolutely unacceptable” the Oklahoma Legislature hasn’t pushed to put more storm shelters in public schools. 
He said his survey suggests more than 506,000 students, teachers and staff would not be adequately prepared for the kind of tornado that rumbled through Moore on May 20 and smashed into Plaza Towers Elementary School, killing seven children there.
“It is reprehensible to think that every day the state fails to act on placing storm shelters in public schools, we put the lives of more than a half a million children, teachers and school staff in peril,” Dorman said.
Dorman is among a group that has launched a signature-gathering campaign for a $500 million bond issue to help fund the construction of storm shelters in public schools. 
The plan calls for the debt service on the bond issue to be paid by the annual franchise tax levied on businesses.
Once the ballot language is given final approval by the attorney general, supporters have 90 days to gather about 155,000 signatures of registered voters.

1
Text Only
State/Nation
  • Perry: Texas plans to send 1,000 guardsmen to border

    Texas Gov. Rick Perry plans to deploy as many as 1,000 National Guard troops to South Texas to bolster security along the Mexico border, a local lawmaker confirmed Monday.

    July 21, 2014

  • NASA renames building for Neil Armstrong

    NASA has honored one of its most famous astronauts by renaming a key building at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

    July 21, 2014

  • New arrivals worry some in the Oklahoma panhandle

    A family who says they were excommunicated from Warren Jeffs' polygamous sect has moved to a small city located in the Oklahoma Panhandle, raising concerns among some residents.

    July 20, 2014

  • Celebrate 45 years since man's first steps on the moon

    Now's the time to get moonstruck.

    Forty-five years ago Sunday, Apollo 11's Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first humans to set foot on another world. Armstrong's "one small step ... one giant leap" on the dusty lunar surface July 20, 1969, still stirs hearts.

    July 20, 2014

  • US outlines case against Russia on downed plane

    Video of a rocket launcher, one surface-to-air missile missing, leaving the likely launch site. Imagery showing the firing. Calls claiming credit for the strike. Recordings said to reveal a cover-up at the crash site.

    July 20, 2014

  • Oklahoma Capitol renovation project previewed

    State officials have previewed preliminary plans for renovating the century-old Oklahoma State Capitol amid a display of artifacts from groundbreaking ceremonies for the structure.

    July 17, 2014

  • House passes tax breaks to boost charitable giving

    The House passed a package of tax breaks Thursday designed to boost charitable donations by seniors, private foundations and procrastinators.

    One provision provides tax breaks to people over 70 who make donations from their individual retirement accounts. Another reduces excise taxes on private charitable foundations.

    July 17, 2014

  • Should online accounts die when you die?

    Should your emails, web albums and other online accounts die when you do? Or should you be able to pass them down to a family member much as you would a house or a box of letters?

    July 17, 2014

  • Obama, Putin discuss Malaysia Plane incident

    The Kremlin says Russian President Vladimir Putin and President Barack Obama have discussed the Malaysia Airlines plane incident over eastern Ukraine.

    July 17, 2014

  • Microsoft cutting 18,000 jobs

    Microsoft announced the biggest layoffs in its history Thursday, saying it will cut 18,000 jobs or 14 percent of its workforce as it streamlines its Nokia mobile device business to focus on using the Windows Phone operating system.

    July 17, 2014