School business officials back funding for school safety measures

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Several state funding-related measures to improve student safety in schools are being urged by the New York State Association of School Business Officials.

The association said Wednesday it is urging the governor and state Legislature to implement the measures, following the Feb. 14 mass shooting at a Parkland, Fla. high school that killed 17 persons.

Among the suggested steps:

• Make NY Safe Act enhanced funding for school security upgrades permanent, rather than subject to annual appropriation.

• Pass legislation to allow school districts to hire retired police officers as school resource officers (SROs) without needing a state Education Department (SED) waiver to exceed the $30,000 salary cap.

• Expedite approvals for projects and financial assistance by providing additional funding and civil service exemptions for SED to hire more staff to meet the demand.

• Make financial aid for community schools a separate categorial aid to be used for mental health and social service support.

​• Exempt security expenditures from the property tax cap.

Rome school district Superintendent Peter C. Blake said earlier this week that if officials want to prevent school shootings from occurring, schools would need to use security measures like those at maximum security prisons.

He also called for removing current teacher evaluation laws that he said have reduced the classroom support that teachers provide for children who need it especially at a younger age.

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