State Representative Joe Dorman outlined his $500 million bond initiative for statewide school storm shelters to Chickasha Lions Club members Wednesday at Eduardo’s Restaurant.
Dorman’s bond initiative calls for a one-time $500 million bond that would allow for all Oklahoma schools to build storm shelters.
This $500 million bond initiative would take 160,000 signatures then a pass of the vote of the people.
Dorman said he tried to get his amendment to the bond proposal calling for a franchise tax to be enacted, but 57 members of the House voted against calling for a special session beyond tort reform.
“At that point we decided we would go forward with an initiative petition for fear the legislature would not take action,” he said. “So, we had the language to create a new constitutional amendment to allow the state to issue a one-time bond for use in school districts.”
He said the Constitution prohibits the state from using bonds to help other levels of government. He said that includes bond money from federal, state or municipalities of school districts.
Dorman said this $500 million bond would allow the state to collect those funds from the Office of Emergency Management into a separate account to be used by local school districts to use with matching dollars to help with the construction of storm shelters.
He said he also visited with authorities from the Federal Emergency Management Authority to allow matching dollars from the federal government.
Taking the $500 million with a 25 percent match of $125 million would be $625 million. Adding in a match from FEMA of a three to one ratio would take the total up to $2 billion to be used for local school districts, Dorman said.
He said the importance of this initiative is to change the current standards of how local school districts get their construction bond monies. With most of the school districts already tapped out on what they can draw from bond money, including the Chickasha School District, who’s at 98 percent, this would allow schools to do more construction, getting a waiver from county excise boards.