Wednesday, February 12, 2014
OKLAHOMA CITY – Governor Mary Fallin today thanked the House Appropriations and Budget Committee for advancing a Constitutional Amendment (HJR 1092) that would allow Oklahoma school districts to pursue a one-time increase in bonding capacity to fund upgrades like storm shelters, safe rooms, and precautions against intruders. Fallin asked lawmakers to pass the amendment in her State of the State Address on February 3 (Read: Governor Mary Fallin Announces Comprehensive Plan to Improve School Safety and Security).
“As the governor and also as a mother, I think about the safety of Oklahoma’s children every day. My thanks go out to the lawmakers who voted today to help provide each school district the tools it needs to protect students and teachers from tornadoes and other threats.”
The action by the House Appropriations committee comes on the heels of major bond issues being approved around the state.
In the Norman school district, voters on Tuesday approved a $126 million bond package that includes construction of collegiate centers and freshmen academies in two high schools, technology and security upgrades throughout the district as well as safe rooms in six schools. The measure passed with 84 percent of the vote. The new bond will not result in any increase in property taxes due to other bond debts being retired.
In the Midwest City-Del City school district, voters also approved a $10 million bond to support school security and technology upgrades.
Governor Fallin said the bond measures show that local bond issues are the most effective way to fund local priorities.
“As schools across Oklahoma ask their communities to fund new projects, I encourage them to consider storm shelters, safe rooms and other security upgrades,” said Fallin. “I applaud the parents in the Norman school district, for example, for approving a bond measure that will put safe rooms in six of their schools. Because of responsible bond and debt management, they were able to do that without incurring any increase in local property taxes.”
“I realize not every school district is in the same position as Norman. That’s why I am asking Legislators to pass HJR 1092 and give each district a one-time increase in bonding capacity for safety and security upgrades.”
HJR 1092 is authored by Representative Mark McBride of Moore and Representative Jon Echols of Oklahoma City.