Parents upset as school district breaks storm shelter promise

TOPEKA, Kan (KSNT)  –  Topeka Public Schools said it will be impossible to build a storm shelter at a local elementary school despite raising money for that issue. The district raised $44.6 million through a bond issue in 2014. This money was supposed to go to school improvements, including building a storm shelter at Stout Elementary School in south Topeka.

Now three years later, the district said the potential for flooding would make constructing a storm shelter impossible.

“It was in the plans to put in a FEMA standard shelter at Stout; however, we have discovered some issues related to flood-ways. We are working with the school and PTO to share the changes in plans,” said Misty Kruger, public relations director for Topeka Public Schools.

However, some parents now feel that they’ve been tricked by the school district.

“I think that they knew that they couldn’t get it FEMA rated from the get go. I think that they used that to sell it to us, so that we would vote for it because it seems safer to call it a FEMA shelter, but whether it’s FEMA rated or not makes no difference. The point is that our students need to be safe,” said Lori Akerstrom, president of the Stout Elementary Parents-Teachers Organization.

Stout and other parents sent a letter to the school district expressing their disapproval. She said they plan to have an open meeting with the school district, but that probably won’t happen until August.

 

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