DALLAS — Promoters of a $500 million bond proposal to add storm shelters to Oklahoma schools have asked the state Supreme Court to throw out changes to the ballot question made by Attorney General Scott Pruitt.
Supporter Rep. Joe Dorman, D-Rush Springs, said the reworded ballot initiative emphasizes funding through the franchise tax rather than the goal of protecting schoolchildren.
In a letter to Oklahoma secretary of state Larry Parman, Pruitt detailed the problems with the original proposal.
"It does not explain the loss to the state's general revenue fund that would occur when bonds are issued and franchise tax revenues are used to repay the bond obligations authorized in the proposal," Pruitt wrote. "It fails to explain that if the state franchise tax revenues are not sufficient to pay off the bond obligations, there may not be any funds available to pay the bond holders."
Take Shelter Oklahoma, a group whose volunteers include the mother of a Plaza Towers Elementary School student killed in a May 20 tornado, filed a legal challenge to block Pruitt's revision.
The petition drive came after tornadoes killed 47 people last May including seven at Plaza Towers Elementary in Moore.
Dorman, a member of the Take Shelter steering committee, said the bonds are needed because school districts have limited financial resources and pressing demands for their existing bond capacity.
Supporters of proposed State Question 767 have until Dec. 16 to secure the 155,216 signatures needed to get the issue on the ballot.