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Morning Bell: Safe rooms in schools

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Little Axe Schools Superintendent Jay Thomason shows entry doors with multiple dead bolts in a "safe" wing at the elementary school on Thursday, May 10, 2018 in Little Axe , Okla. Photo by Steve Sisney, The Oklahoman
Little Axe Schools Superintendent Jay Thomason shows entry doors with multiple dead bolts in a "safe" wing at the elementary school on Thursday, May 10, 2018 in Little Axe , Okla. Photo by Steve Sisney, The Oklahoman

Sunday was the five-year anniversary since a tornado killed 24, including seven children at Plaza Towers Elementary in Moore. 

The tornado put an increased focus on safe room use at schools. The Oklahomantook a look at how many Oklahoma schools responded to the tornado by constructing their own safe rooms. 

At least 65 school districts across the state have constructed safe rooms since 2013, according to a survey conducted by The Oklahoman, which included responses from nearly half of the state's 525 districts.

Fifty-seven percent of districts that responded to the survey have certified safe rooms, with most being built over the past five years.

More than a dozen districts said new safe rooms will be built through recently approved bond issues.

However, dozens of districts said they lack certified storm shelters and make do with the facilities they have. When a severe storm approaches the school campus in the tiny panhandle town of Turpin, students take shelter under the gym bleachers, under the stage and in restrooms.

You can read that story here

Rebuilding Moore: The Norman Transcript took a look at how the Moore community, including its schools, have rebuilt since 2013. 

Oklahoma City Public Schools is about to name a new leader

The OKCPS board has called a special meeting for Tuesday afternoon, and is "prepared to take action to select our new superintendent," the district announced Friday in a news release.

The meeting starts at 4 p.m. at Northeast Academy, 3100 N Kelley. Board members will meet behind closed doors before returning to open session to vote on the new hire and approve a contract.

Supreme Court battle shaping up over tax repeal effort

A major battle is shaping up in the Oklahoma Supreme Court over the petition to repeal recent tax hikes tied to teacher pay raises, reports The Oklahoman's Chris Casteel.

Two separate legal challenges have been filed by education groups to the petition effort, and the state's high court has put the matter on a fast track.

The court has asked Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter to provide input, giving the Republican a potentially influential role in the case while he is facing a tough primary election challenge.

Oklahoma Taxpayers Unite!, a group led by former U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn, is trying to gather nearly 42,000 signatures for a statewide vote on State Question 799 to repeal the tax package approved by the Legislature and signed by Gov. Mary Fallin in March.

PC schools will hold teacher job fair

Putnam City school district will hold its annual teacher job fair from 2 to 5 p.m. Tuesday at Francis Tuttle's Reno Campus, 7305 W Reno.

Patricia Balenseifen, Putnam City's chief of human capital, said the district this spring is hiring teachers in a wide range of grade levels and subject areas for the next school year. New teachers in the district will replace teachers that are retiring, relocating or moving on, and in some cases increase the number of teachers in the district in order to lower class sizes, Balenseifen said.

Related Photos
Little Axe Schools Superintendent Jay Thomason shows entry doors with multiple dead bolts in a "safe" wing at the elementary school on Thursday, May 10, 2018 in Little Axe , Okla.  Photo by Steve Sisney, The Oklahoman

Little Axe Schools Superintendent Jay Thomason shows entry doors with multiple dead bolts in a "safe" wing at the elementary school on Thursday, May 10, 2018 in Little Axe , Okla. Photo by Steve Sisney, The Oklahoman

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-de353f83d72e0effa7cfa1010d2e9ea7.jpg" alt="Photo - Little Axe Schools Superintendent Jay Thomason shows entry doors with multiple dead bolts in a &quot;safe&quot; wing at the elementary school on Thursday, May 10, 2018 in Little Axe , Okla. Photo by Steve Sisney, The Oklahoman" title="Little Axe Schools Superintendent Jay Thomason shows entry doors with multiple dead bolts in a &quot;safe&quot; wing at the elementary school on Thursday, May 10, 2018 in Little Axe , Okla. Photo by Steve Sisney, The Oklahoman"><figcaption>Little Axe Schools Superintendent Jay Thomason shows entry doors with multiple dead bolts in a &quot;safe&quot; wing at the elementary school on Thursday, May 10, 2018 in Little Axe , Okla. Photo by Steve Sisney, The Oklahoman</figcaption></figure>
Ben Felder

Ben Felder is an investigative reporter for The Oklahoman. A native of Kansas City, Ben has lived in Oklahoma City since 2010 and covered politics, education and local government for the Oklahoma Gazette before joining The Oklahoman in 2016.... Read more ›

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