From the desk of Senator Joyce Waddell

Budget Expansion for School Support Staff

Joyce Waddell

CHARLOTTE, NC- Following the recent school shooting at Butler High School, safety has moved back into the forefront of concerns for schools and the surrounding communities. The State Board of Education and N.C. Department of Public Instruction has requested to expand funding for public education over the next three years in areas officials has often neglected.

During the 2018 session, Senate Bill 99 Session Law 2018-5 (Current Operations Appropriations Act of 2018) was introduced to ensure that maximum amounts were provided for services throughout the 2018-2019 fiscal year. The Superintendent of Public Instruction worked with the General Assembly to establish the School Safety Grants Program to improve safety in public school units by providing grants for school safety resources officers, services for students in crisis, school safety training, safety equipment in school and additional school mental health personnel. In addition, provide evidence-based and informed services for training to help students develop healthy responses to trauma and stress.

Community partners are eligible to apply for grants as a collaborative approach is encouraged to increase school safety. Partnerships with local school administrative units provide consultation for school officials, education on managing health, in-person training for safety planning and student interaction.

The General Assembly has appropriated $35 million in school safety grants, which approximately 70 schools statewide have been awarded grants as of September. The State Board of Education and N.C. Department of Public Instruction will submit a revised budget requesting more than $190 million to expand funding in November to Governor Roy Cooper for approval.

“School safety needs to be a top priority every year,” said Senator Joyce Waddell. “We need to do more to ensure school facilities have adequate safety upgrades and provide staff support so that we can help students before they turn to violence.”