Calvert Commissioners: School Safety Is Top Priority

The Calvert County Commissioners are considering a series of proposals in response to the mass shooting at a Florida high school triggered an outcry for accountability and reform. The Commissioners plan to introduce a motion to allocate $2 million in school safety upgrades in the upcoming fiscal 2019 budget. Commissioners’ Vice President Tom Hejl also called on the local board of education to contribute matching funds.

According to The Calvert Recorder,

“It sickens us to pause to acknowledge yet another senseless massacre,” Calvert County Commissioners’ President Evan Slaughenhoupt said Tuesday, in the wake of the mass school shooting on Valentine’s Day in Parkland, Fla., where 17 students and faculty where killed by a gunman.

Slaughenhoupt said if society truly wants to make a real difference, it should address what appears to be common themes surrounding the perpetrators. He then recommended everyone take the time to hear the many views and accept that overall societal and cultural improvements are needed for solutions more so than favorite single topics.

Slaughenhoupt said County Administrator Terry Shannon has already reached out to Calvert’s school system to obtain a list of security devices and changes needed at schools, as well as pricing information.

Slaughenhoupt said County Administrator Terry Shannon has reached out to the Calvert County Board of Education to obtain a list of security devices and changes needed at schools, as well as pricing information. The Commissioners previously allocated $5 million for school safety enhancements in the wake of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012.

Because any appropriations would be used for a one-time purchase, the funds would not be calculated into the state-mandated maintenance of effort, nor would they be included in the education funding formula. Slaughenhoupt said the effort ultimately falls under the authority of the board of education, which direct responsibility for managing funds provided by the county.

Governor Hogan announced that the administration would commit an additional $125 million to accelerate and enhance safety improvements in schools, including secure doors and windows, metal detectors, security cameras, panic buttons, and other capital improvements, as well as an additional $50 million in operating funds each year for new school safety grants, which could be used for school resource officers, counselors, and additional safety technology.

The governor also announced that he will submit emergency legislation to create Maryland’s first statewide school safety standards, including required training and certification for all school resource officers and security staff. As an immediate step to activate the emergency legislation, the governor announced that he will submit a supplemental budget on Friday, March 2, that provides an additional $5 million for the Maryland Center for School Safety, an increase in funding of 600 percent.

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