Gov. Jay Nixon nixes funding to school safety program

Posted at 5:58 PM, Jul 11, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-11 19:29:00-04

Kids return to school next month, and with concerns about kids' safety, a program that taught students how to respond to an active shooter situation is seeing massive cuts.

School districts in the Show Me State would turn to the Missouri Center for Education Safety for help with the costs to conduct active shooter trainings and other school safety measures.

"Schools are very safe to begin with, it's just that we're trying to find ways to make sure that they stay safe and how can we make them safer," Paul Fennewald, director of the Center for Education Safety, said. 

Last year, the organization gave out $400,000 in grants for school safety. That grant money came from the Missouri legislature.

It's a competitive process. More than 240 school districts applied for grants. Only 50 were chosen, including Lee's Summit, Liberty and Independence.

This year, Gov. Jay Nixon is cutting funding for the program from $700,000 to $100,000.

"There's a lot of school districts' leadership, their administrators had voiced their anticipation," Fennewald said. "They were counting on money to help do a lot of different things to make their school safer."

With the grants last year, Lee's Summit trained their school staff how to evacuate students with special needs, Liberty spent $15,000 on a visitor pass system and Independence invested in a classroom personal protection system.

We reached out to the governor's office who said a similar program is available through the Missouri Highway Patrol. 

Channing Grate, a representative for Nixon, sent the following statement:

"The State of Missouri provides active shooter trainings to local schools free of charge through the Missouri State Highway Patrol upon request.

"As the Governor said last week, in order to protect funding for core priorities, such as a $70 million increase for K-12 classrooms, many new, expanded or duplicative programs have had to be pared back or put on hold.  That being said, in recognition of the importance of keeping our schools safe, $100,000 for this specific active shooter training program is moving forward."

It's a decision some would call disappointing.

"While we don’t have the money, we're going to have to be creative and find some other things that we can do to help them be safer," Fennewald said.

Lawmakers could override the governor's decision for the cuts.



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