Baker-Polito Administration propose $72 million school safety package

Boston Statehouse

The Baker-Polito Administration is proposing a $72 million school safety package.

Immediately after the Parkland, Florida shooting that killed 17 students and teachers in February, the Baker-Polito Administration went back to the drawing board to see how the state could improve school safety.

In mid-July, Governor Baker filed legislation to direct a portion of the state’s surplus budget toward making public schools safer.

On Tuesday, Gov. Baker appointed secretaries of education, health and human services, and public safety and security, to come together and develop a plan on how the state could improve safety in schools.

The proposed school safety bill has four components: $40 million would be directed towards strengthening student supports, $20 million would go towards upgrading security measures, and an additional $10 million would be used to strengthen school safety training and create a public awareness campaign.

“And so it’s incumbent upon us at the state level, certainly at a local level as well, to do everything we can to make sure those environments are as safe as possible,” said State Education Secretary Jim Peyser. “There’s no way to completely guarantee anyone’s security, to be sure, but people need to feel comfortable that we’re doing everything we can.”

Under this bill, each superintendent would report annually to the state confirming whether they have an evacuation plan in place. Along with any trainings, exercises, or simulations related to the plan that were conducted in the prior year.

The proposal has been placed before the Legislature to consider as part of the FY18 supplemental budget, which Peyser said, he hopes they will take up in September.

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