State lawmaker suggests state should pay for schools to increase security protocols
A New Jersey lawmaker says that the state should provide funding to schools to upgrade their security features.
The question of school security is weighing heavy on the minds of many New Jersey parents in the wake of a recent school shooting in Texas.
Upgrading security to stop a mass shooting can get very expensive and may entail hiring armed guards or installing new doors and windows. There is now a call for the state to step in to pay for some of that expense.
The Middletown School District recently decided to add armed guards to protect students and staff.
“I think every school can do that. They just need the funding to do it,” says Republican state Assemblywoman Vicky Flynn.
Flynn is the former Holmdel School Board president. She says she knows something about hiring retired armed police officers and how difficult it is for schools to pay for them, along with additional upgrades.
“We had between $250,000 to $300,000 of our budget set aside just for school security personnel costs,” Flynn says. “With the tight budgets that schools are working under, it’s not something that can be done very easily.”
It often takes a school district several years to add on security upgrades. Flynn says that she believes security should be a priority – along with providing funding for schools to deal with learning loss due to the COVID-19 pandemic and mental health assistance.
“Make this a priority. Use the money that we have. We have so much funding available to us – both federal, as well as unexpected revenues that were collected. It is somewhere in the range of $11 billion,” Flynn says.
She says it will put school districts across the state on equal footing.
Flynn also says that her district lost 5% of its state aid, making it difficult to fund all their needs.