A group pushing for a $500 million state bond issue to help build school storm shelters plans to abandon its current petition drive and start a new one in May, its attorney said Monday.
Take Shelter Oklahoma started its initiative petition drive after a tornado ripped through Moore’s Plaza Towers Elementary School last May, killing seven children.
David Slane, attorney for Take Shelter Oklahoma, said his group decided to start afresh after the Supreme Court on Monday rejected its petition for a rehearing.
Slane’s group wanted the Supreme Court to allow it to count the 100,000 or so signatures the group had gathered prior to and during a ballot title legal challenge.
The court rejected that request Monday, saying the group would have to start over gathering signatures and would be given 90 days, starting Tuesday, to gather about 155,000 signatures needed to force a statewide vote.
“I talked with the group from Take Shelter and they will not start collecting signatures tomorrow,” Slane said Monday.
“Instead, in May they will file an entirely new initiative petition in a last ditch effort to get the shelters in the schools and avoid another legal fight.”
The group remains focused on trying to get the issue on the November ballot, he said.
Take Shelter Oklahoma’s first petition drive bogged down in a dispute over what language should appear on the November ballot.
Slane’s group wanted the ballot title to emphasize that a $500 million bond issue would be used to build school shelters.
Attorney General Scott Pruitt disagreed, saying he thought the ballot language should include more information about the source of funding being franchise tax revenues that would be diverted from the state’s General Revenue Fund.
Gov. Mary Fallin is backing an alternative plan that calls for a statewide vote on whether school districts should be permitted to vote to exceed their bonding limits one time to fund storm shelters and other school security improvements.