The Duncan Banner

November 9, 2013

100,000 Signatures needed as School Storm Shelter petition signature collection reaches midpoint


The Duncan Banner

OKLAHOMA CITY — With 42 days left in the school storm shelter petition drive, Take Shelter Oklahoma today launched its “Get Your 20” campaign. Under the campaign, those supporting the initiative are encouraged to each get 20 signatures over the net four weeks.

Rep. Joe Dorman of Rush Springs estimated that to date approximately 60,000 signatures have been collected by hundreds of volunteers statewide, leaving an additional 100,000 needed to place the storm shelter issue on the ballot. In addition to the “Get Your 20” campaign, Take Shelter Oklahoma will be scheduling a number of signing events across the state in November and early December.

The Take Shelter Oklahoma petition asks voters to approve the issuance of a $500 million bond to fund the construction of school storm shelters and to provide for enhanced school security. Revenue collected from the existing franchise tax would service the debt. This funding mechanism would allow school districts the opportunity to build school storm shelters without raising any new or existing taxes and without cutting any current program spending in Oklahoma since the franchise tax will not be collected until July 2014 and it currently does not fund any programs or general expenditures. The plan also provides for 100 percent local control since the local school boards would make all decisions regarding the school storm shelters.

Dorman said that opponents to the petition have impacted the collection of the signatures.

“The full-fledged effort by Mary Fallin, Scott Pruitt and others to sabotage the efforts of the People’s People has created the kind of distasteful and unproductive atmosphere of obstruction and gridlock we are used to seeing in Washington, D.C. It has turned a conversation about protecting the lives of school children into a partisan spectacle that is not becoming of Oklahoma,” he said.

“Their attempts to thwart the public will and mislead people on the storm shelter issue and the funding mechanism have caused confusion which has slowed the collection of signatures.”

“If the people of the state want the opportunity to vote on protecting the more than half a million students and teachers who have no protection from severe weather outbreaks, then they must act quickly and with vigor over the next five weeks,” Dorman continued.

Supporters who wish to participate in the “Get Your 20” campaign are asked to send their address to TakeShelterOklahoma@gmail.com and request to collect signatures. The organization will send one signature page, which holds 20 signatures, to each volunteer. Once the volunteer completes the page, they return it to Take Shelter Oklahoma.

A recent poll by SoonerPoll shows that nearly 80 percent of Oklahomans support storm shelters in public schools.

“With the level of support statewide for school storm shelters, a little effort will produce a great return and overcome the efforts of the political machine trying to keep the voice of the people from being heard, ” Dorman said. “Every parent, teacher, student and citizen who supports the petition needs to become active by requesting the signature page and asking 20 people to sign it. Everyone knows 20 registered voters who are supportive of the efforts. Apathy will defeat the issue, action will put it to the vote of the people.”