Fight to bring storm shelters to schools heads to Oklahoma Supreme Court
OKLAHOMA CITY – A fight to build more storm shelters in schools heads to the Oklahoma Supreme Court.
During oral arguments on Wednesday, organizers of Take Shelter Oklahoma argued that the state attorney general derailed the process by writing biased ballot language.
The group argues the attorney generals’ ballot language, which emphasized that franchise tax money would be diverted from the general fund, confused voters and cost them signatures.
The AG’s office claims it merely attempted to inform voters about how the shelters would be financed.
The mother of 9-year-old Emily Conatzer, who died in Plaza Towers Elementary, is frustrated the effort to build more storm shelters in schools has devolved into a political and legal fight.
“It shows me how much the attorney general and the governor care about kids, because if they did we wouldn’t be here,” said Kristi Conatzer. “This is just disgusting they’re acting this way. These people are toying with kids lives.”
David Slane, a local attorney involved with Take Shelter Oklahoma, said, “We asked the Supreme Court to rewrite the ballot because the two sides will never agree, and so this can go to a vote of the people and they can decide.”
The Supreme Court did not make any decisions Wednesday.
Organizers failed to collect the 160,000 signatures needed in 90 days to put the ballot before voters.
If the court throws out the current ballot language, it could also grant the petition organizers another 90 days to collect the needed signatures.
The group hopes to spend $500 million to build storm shelters in schools around the state.