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Districts should build multipurpose safe rooms

Published: June 7, 2013

I concur with the conclusion in “Safe room: Local bond issues may be best option” (Our Views, June 13) that the best bet may be for school districts to consider local bond issues to build multipurpose safe rooms. Having taken that stance, it may also be instructive to review the likelihood that a portion of our students will be left behind due simply to the mathematics of assessed valuation and debt limits.

Using figures released last week by the State Office of Accountability, and using your average cost estimates to build FEMA-standard safe rooms, 56 districts in Oklahoma couldn't fund that average cost even if the full 10 percent maximum bonded indebtedness were to be passed by district voters. More than 10,000 students are in districts that couldn't be protected in this instance, even if voters approved the maximum debt permitted. These district and student figures would increase depending upon the already existing indebtedness which, when added to new safe room bonds, could not exceed the 10 percent district valuation limit.

Bond issues or private efforts notwithstanding, the provision of safe and adequate school facilities for every child in Oklahoma has always been, and continues to be, the sole responsibility of the state.

Howard Kuchta, Lawton

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