CATOOSA, Okla. — Catoosa Public Schools said a property that sits next to two of its schools is causing safety hazards, and is calling on the property’s owner to make some changes.
The property, owned by The Kroenke Group, is located east of the Walmart on Robson Road in Catoosa, not far from Wells Middle School and Catoosa High School.
The Kroenke Group is owned by Stan Kroenke, who owns the Los Angeles Rams and is worth about $12.9 billion according to Forbes.
In an open letter to Kroenke from Robert Schornick, the district’s superintendent, and Amy Shouse, president of the Catoosa Board of Education, the district details its struggles with the undeveloped land, citing an encampment of people who are homeless presenting security threats to the students and teachers.
The district said it serves 1,800 students in grades pre-K through 12, and about 900 of those students, and about 100 teachers, are in the middle and high schools next to the undeveloped land.
“At present, the land located to the east side of the Walmart is garbage-strewn, overgrown, and home to an encampment of individuals experiencing homelessness,” says the letter. “Our hearts go out to these people who have fallen on hard times, but the practical impact of the current situation is that we have individuals who are publicly intoxicated or engaged in domestic disputes within a stone’s throw from two schools.”
The letter goes on to say an incident with the encampment just last week prompted full lockdowns of both schools while the Catoosa Police Department handles the situation.
On Jan. 4, Catoosa police said the high school and middle school were locked down after a woman near the Walmart tried to attack her boyfriend with an axe.
The school district’s letter also mentions individuals in the encampment start fires to stay warm in an area with overgrowth which creates fire hazards.
Schornick and Shouse ask The Kroenke Group to clear the encampment and clean up the property, while also asking for security measures to be put in place to keep the property clear and secure moving forward.
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