Safety for our Students
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In the weeks following the tragic shooting in Parkland, Florida, schools districts, and communities are having important discussions on the topic of student safety, and working to make improvements. New York State must partner with us to ensure timely and meaningful changes to improve the safety and security of our school communities. To that end, we urge our New York State representatives to support the following via legislative efforts and budget considerations:
- Increase Community Aid and make it a separate category to supplement Foundation Aid to be used for mental health and social service support. Mental health and social services are as important as physical plant security measures.
- Exempt security measures from the property tax cap. The tax cap limits districts’ ability to raise local revenue. School safety and security is a pressing matter, and exempting local spending in this area will allow districts to invest in security while staying within the tax cap.
- Expedite the approval process for Building Aid for capital projects and Smart Schools Bond Act funding by providing additional funding and civil service exemptions for SED to hire additional professional staff to meet the demand. Current turnaround time for approval is a full year.
- Pass legislation S.2946/A.8327 which will allow districts to hire retired police officers as School Resource Officers without requiring an SED waiver to exceed the $30,000 salary cap.
Student safety must be districts’ highest priority. We need increased security measures, which inevitably will have a significant cost. New York State must assist districts so that they can make meaningful, effective and timely adjustments to improve safety at our schools.
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