NEW: Students angry over Gov. Fallin stance on school storm shelters

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OKLAHOMA CITY - Gov. Mary Fallin announced she will not be supporting a proposed bond issue to pay for storm shelters in every Oklahoma school.

The proposal calls for using franchise tax revenue to pay for the $500 million needed to install shelters or safe rooms in Oklahoma schools.

Many students believe this is not a Democrat or Republican issue but an Oklahoma goal; to keep our children safe.

"It's pretty terrifying,"  said Annastacia Langthorn, President of the Young Democrats of Oklahoma. "Over the last few months, we've been having this conversation where we know in Oklahoma there are tornadoes. Every single year we have a tornado and it goes roughly through the same area, through Moore and south Oklahoma City."

Leading Republicans who support Gov. Fallin say they are not questioning the need for storm shelters but rather how to pay for them.

One option is a tax credit program for individuals and businesses across the state.

"We could give individuals and/or corporations the ability to donate to a storm shelter for a particular school district and, in so doing, give them a tax credit for that,"  said, Dave Weston, State Chairman for Oklahoma. "We don't have to just always run and borrow money to meet every need."

Some leaders say using the franchise tax would divert money from the general fund that could be used for other needs, such as education and public safety.

Supporters of Gov. Fallin also say building storm shelters should be a decision that each individual school district makes.

Weston said, “If they want to borrow the money to go and establish a storm shelter, then that should be their decision but we shouldn’t force that down upon them.”

A survey released last week said that nearly 60 percent of Oklahoma schools have no safe space for students and employees to take shelter from severe weather.

Langthorn said, "It's ridiculous to me and almost reprehensible that our leaders haven't stepped up and said 'There's a risk, there's a threat. What are we doing against this threat?"

Once the ballot language is approved by the attorney general, supporters have 90 days to gather 155,000 signatures of registered voters to get storm shelters in schools placed on the ballot.

The Young Democrats of Oklahoma will be helping to collect signatures.


  • Missy Ligon

    i agree it would be great to have safe rooms in all schools. But its not the only way to keep kids safe, please stop thinking a safe room is a fix all. We also need to help lessen the burden on families to help put shelters at every home. If they are at home, than people will not need to flee in mass confusionn “trying” to get to these so called safe rooms, and shelters.

    I have kids, its very concerning to have them in school during mother natures rant, but the odds of the storms happening in school hours are less than the odds of being at your own residence.

    What about resturants in tornado alley, are they responsible for sheltering the unknown amount of people that just happen to be in or around thier business. What about town halls, firehouses, should they be required to have safe rooms for all those who are traveling through in the time of storms.

    Where does that end. if there are more and more options outside of personal homesites, than more and more people WILL be chasing storms or watching the storms feeling safer because they can always run to some public shelter.

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