Liberal Voters Asked to Pass $3 Million Bond For Tornado Shelter - KOAM TV 7

Liberal Voters Asked to Pass $3 Million Bond For Tornado Shelters


The Liberal Missouri school district asks voters to back a three million dollar bond issue.
                    The district hopes to build tornado shelters with help from FEMA but first has to convince voters to help fund them.
When there’s a tornado warning at Liberal elementary school all one hundred seventy-four students plus teachers  in the liberal squeeze into one classroom.

5th grade teacher Jay Johnson exclaimed, “It’s chaos! There’s not enough room to really get all the kids in there. They’re stacked one on top of another. Having a saferoom that’s actually built for that many students would allow us to safely, more organized,  get into one place much quicker than we are currently doing  right now.” He added, “It’s  more nerve wracking and it’s harder for  when we have kids that have special needs. We have kids, those little ones, they are  in panic.”
 The call for a tornado shelter with more space for calm,  is persona for  second grade teacher Shannon Cecil.  “May the 4th, 2003, my mom died in the tornado that was near  Franklin, Kansas.”

Asked if it comes to her mind when the students drill or take cover and she answered, “Every time. It definitely hits me a lot harder  than anyone else cause I know the loss. And feel the loss  of her and her not getting to see her granddaughter grow up.”

The three million dollar proposal would add a tornado safe room in a grassy area at the elementary.
And  a gym sized shelter would be built on the lawn south of the main high school connecting to two hallways inside.

Shanda Shaw, a school  counselor said, “Right  now we don’t have a place that’s  truly handicap accessible for  all our area residents to go.  So this would be a place they could come. They know that they are safe. It will hold a lot of  people. So, I  do think its important and I hope they will support it.”  

The superintendent said some citizens are concerned about the fast pace of the planning. But he says he actually applied for FEMA funding back in 2014 and was just alerted last fall they're on the list to get it.  They worked to turn in an actual application with FEMA in March.  Brian Williams, a school board member said, “We found out about the FEMA grant and really wanted to take advantage of it,  especially after the Joplin tornado. We saw the devastation there. And  we've had a lot of close calls  here at Liberal, tornadoes just a mile away.” 


Superintendent Bill Harvey added, “We also want to provide a venue or a facility that can not only be used for school functions but also be used  for community functions as well.”

Some local residents we talked to are split on the issue.
David Dickey said, “If  it was build this then stop and not raise taxes again, I  would be  for it. But  there’s a lot of people around here struggling now  and I don’t think we need no more taxes.”

Lester Fast disagrees and said, “I’m gonna vote for it. I think it’s a good deal. I think you need to support your school, keep it here.”

The district needs a  4/7ths majority of voters for it to pass and then to capture one point six million in FEMA dollars. The proposal would also add heating and air at the high school gym among other improvements and repairs. 

          Liberal last used a one million dollar bond for a vocational, technology  and agriculture wing at the high school.
          That fifteen  year note was paid off in 2013.
          The current ballot issue would cost six tenths per one hundred dollars assessed valuation


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