(PRWEB) October 03, 2013
Moore Public Schools in Oklahoma has been hit twice in the last decade by “killer tornadoes” which devastated school buildings and surrounding residential neighborhoods. Besides several deaths of school children, many other children and school employees were hurt along with others in that community. Some Joplin, Missouri schools and other buildings were also destroyed only two years ago fortunately without loss of life. The threat and reality of tornadoes is mostly felt in the Midwest and South, but other areas are not immune.
Major tragedies related to tornadoes can be reduced and, perhaps, eliminated as the knowledge of how to construct tornado “safe rooms” is recognized by school facility experts. The problem is that generally schools simply do not have sufficient budgets to renovate existing buildings with tornado “safe rooms” which typically cost between $250,000 and $1,200,000 depending upon the size and features of a particular school building.
There is a little known source of funds that can help meet some of the need schools have for tornado “safe rooms”. Using a low profile Federal program called Qualified Zone Academy Bonds or QZAB, some school superintendents in Oklahoma are considering including tornado “safe rooms” in their QZAB applications. QZAB is a NO INTEREST bond program with up to 25 years to pay back the principal. Nearly all states have millions of dollars still available in QZAB bonds, for instances:
At the start of 2013 there was a billion dollars in QZAB dollars which is designated for schools with low income students – at least 35% to be eligible. Approximately, 25% has been used which still leaves enough funds for many Midwestern and Southern school administrators and board members to protect their children from tornadoes by renovating buildings with “safe rooms”.
QZAB has a requirement for a ten (10%) percent match partner before the QZAB bonds can be issued. The National Education Foundation (NEF) has solved that problem for schools by agreeing to provide this match for interested schools. interested in partnering to meet another QZAB requirement – the establishment of a new educational program designed with the school’s partner to prepare students for the rigors of college and/or of the demanding workforce. NEF enables teachers and students in partner schools to have access to nearly 6000 online curriculum courses which schools may implement in flexible ways.
The Founder and Chairman of the Foundation, Dr. Appu Kuttan states, “We are most pleased to be able to help schools access QZAB funds to build tornado ‘safe rooms’ within existing buildings. We want our nation’s children to be safe.”
Safety budgets are important to providing a safe environment for the nation’s over 50 million K-12 students. QZAB, is a funding vehicle that can fill in budget gaps for school safety.
Dr. Art Stellar, a former school superintendent and administrator in tornado prone states like Oklahoma, Ohio and North Carolina, helps school superintendents apply for QZAB funds, he says: “QZAB funds are an excellent funding source for school superintendents to establish tornado “safe rooms” or make other renovations. They can also use QZAB funds for technology, equipment, and energy efficiency”.
In addition to the 10% match grant, NEF helps the school districts to create QZAB STEM+ academies capable of advancing a student one grade level in a subject in 20-30 learning hours in the NEF system, as documented by the State University of NY (SUNY), which implements the academies nationally with a grant from NEF.
Dr. Appu Kuttan, Chairman of the National Education Foundation (NEF), global expert in digital education and empowerment, and the recent University of Wisconsin Distinguished Achievement Award winner, states, "School districts across the Nation are faced with serious budget cuts. Our $100 million match program enables schools to receive Federal QZAB funds” (http://www.qzab.org).
To apply for a 10% QZAB match, visit http://www.qzab.org.
National Education Foundation (NEF), founded in 1989 in Washington, DC area, is the national non-profit leader in bridging the academic and job skills divides through high-quality, affordable STEM+ education solutions. NEF provides total STEM+ education solutions including 6,000 top-quality Web-based differentiated learning courses, mentoring, motivational rewards, teacher stipends and teacher training to disadvantaged school districts across the nation.
Persons Interested in Tornado “Safe Rooms” Should Contact: Dr. Art Stellar, Vice-President, National Education Foundation at 703-823-9999 or astellar(at)nefuniversity(dot)org