Senate budget supplemental invests more than $18 million for school safety

Sen. Peter MacGregor

Sen. Peter MacGregor

LANSING, Mich. — The Senate on Thursday approved $18.6 million in additional funding to support school safety initiatives throughout the state, said Sen. Peter MacGregor.

“I am committed to finding commonsense solutions to improve school security, preparedness training and communication to help ensure student safety,” said MacGregor, R-Rockford. “This additional funding will go a long way in that effort to provide school administrators and first responders the tools and resources they need to keep schools safe.”

The would make strategic investments to assess and boost school building security, expand the OK2SAY program that encourages students to confidentially report suspicious activity, and create a statewide mobile notification alert system to improve coordination and response during a potential security incident.

Senate Bill 601, a current year budget supplemental, would provide $15 million for competitive grants for schools to buy technology and equipment or conduct school assessments to enhance security. The grants would allow schools to purchase physical security equipment, public address systems, inspection and screening systems, shatterproof glass for exterior doors and windows, or a school safety assessment.

Additionally, SB 601 includes $3 million to provide for a statewide school emergency notification application, which would allow school staff and first responders to improve real time communication and coordinated response efforts. The bill would also invest $650,000 more to increase awareness of the state’s OK2SAY program and to hire more staff to better respond to potential threats.

Additionally, the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services, which MacGregor chairs, recently approved the creation of a Student Outreach Services grant program to help address mental health issues and improve school safety throughout the state. The new program was included in the department’s fiscal year 2019 budget recently reported by the committee.

“The Student Outreach Services grant program is part of a comprehensive effort to improve school safety throughout our state,” MacGregor said.

SB 601 now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.