School Safety Legislation Introduced

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State senator Joe Schiavoni introduced legislation on Friday that would provide $35 million to school districts statewide to make safety improvements to buildings.

With the mass shooting that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. in mind, Schiavoni said Ohio needs to be more responsible for student safety.

The legislation would give $35 million to school districts in both 2014 and 2015 to fund school safety projects.

“In order to receive funding from the state, each school district would be required to submit an application to the State of Ohio, specifically explaining the needed safety improvements that the money would be used for.”

Funding distribution would be based on a school district’s enrollment. There would be four tiers, with the smallest districts receiving $25,000 and the largest $100,000.

The Boardman School District would receive $75,000 if the legislation is passed.  Resource officer Sgt. Chuck Hill said often times when you consider issues of safety and security it comes down to dollars.

Boardman schools conducted an active shooter drill in April and information taken from the event gave school officials an idea of where they could improve on security. Topping the list was updating the buildings to include cameras, new doors and locks.

“Back 75 years ago, 100 years ago, school safety was not an issue,” said Superintendent Frank Lazzeri. “Therefore, buildings were not designed with that in mind.

Districts that receive money would be required to submit an application to the Ohio Department of Education on how they would use the funds to increase school safety. Any applications approved would receive the funds

“When we allow the school’s flexibility, the administration, the teachers, the students work together to find a solution in their own schools makes sense to me,” said Schiavoni.

The bill needs approval from both the Senate and the House.

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