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$209M bond could add storm shelters to all Moore schools

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MOORE, Okla. -- Voters in Moore are being asked to decide on a bond that would equip every Moore school with a storm shelter. Right now, a dozen schools have, or will soon have, completed shelters. Another 23 sites in the district are without shelters.

The district is asking voters to change that, but it comes at a cost.

Superintendent Robert Romines said, “This bond issue will touch every one of our students.”

The price tag: $209 million. It’s a hefty price tag, but it's one that Moore Public Schools are hoping voters will be on board with.

The money would fund a shelter at every school site in the district that does not currently have one.

Most of the parents and students we spoke with are in favor of the bond.

“I'd pay more than that. I'd give my own life. It's worth it to me,” Steven Gordon, a Moore resident, said.

“That would make me feel better and know I'd be safe and not have any walls fall on me,” Willa Marlowe, a Moore student, said.

Lou Bertoletti, a Moore resident, said, “I'd be for it. This town's been through enough.”

Those we found who are against the bond would not go on camera, but they wonder why the shelters can't be funded through private donations.

“We're to the point where our community will have to help us out,” Supt. Romines said.

Ten of the 12 existing shelters have been funded partly through private donations. There are still 23 schools without shelters.

The district says having a safe place for students at those sites is vitally important, but in order to make it happen, they need help from the community.

The superintendent says it's not just about protecting students from storms.

“It's important for me, as the superintendent of this district, to make sure that every parent who can't get to their child in the event of something like that happening, that they can have a peace,” Supt. Romines said.

The shelters will come in the form of additional classroom space, media centers, or facilities for athletics and fine arts. The district has evaluated every site to see what the needs are for future growth. They are trying to make the shelters fit those future needs.

Supt. Romines said the bond could potentially cost property owners, possibly $50 on a $250,000 home. However, he says due to growth in the community, it is possible that property owners will not see any increase.

The vote will take place in October.

If it passes, residents could see construction at all of the sites as early as March of next year. Supt. Romines says construction at all of the 23 sites would start about the same time.

While it's a big task to undertake so much construction all at once, he says it is necessary in order to make sure every student is safe as soon as possible.

The bond will not only cover the shelters; the money will also be used for technology upgrades, air conditioning improvements, and other needs throughout the district. $5 million of the bond will be directed toward transportation needs.

The district is working to develop a web site that will outline, in more detail, the specific improvements that will be made at each school site. They hope to have that site up in the next couple of weeks. They encourage those with questions about the bond to contact the district directly.

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