Education budget cuts are in the headlines every day: Teachers being laid off in mass numbers. Local levy and bond issues failing left and right. Major cuts from school operating budgets.
Buried deeper in these stories are the cuts to school safety. As of July, if things move forward as planned, the state grant component of the federal Safe and Drug Free Schools program will no longer exist. This means federal dollars dedicated for school safety use and allocated to school districts based on a formula distribution plan will leave many local districts high and dry for dedicated school safety dollars in their 2010-2011 school year budget.
State budgets are also getting tight. Prevention and other school safety programs are drying up. School safety grant programs are becoming fewer and farther in between.
At the local school level, school safety is first on the chopping block across the country as even the most fiscally well-run school districts are facing substantial budget cuts. From Indiana to Georgia to Arizona back to New Jersey, we’re seeing story after story of School Resource Officer (SRO) – school police positions eliminated, security staff dramatically cut back or eliminated, and prevention programs being gutted.
Bailouts and Stimulus Abound
Congress and the Administration(current and past) have bailed out Wall Street. They’ve spent “stimulus” money left and right, which has included a number of wasteful earmarked pork projects. Now they’re looking to bail out the education industry with a $23 billion jobs bill.
I don’t have anything against saving teachers’ jobs. In fact, it hurts me to see our teachers fall victim to economic, political, and other societal dynamics far out of their control. In more ways than one, I wish the outside influences and influencers would leave teachers alone and just let them teach.
I believe there are many educators, board members, and elected officials (and their staff) who really do care about school safety. But some are penny-wise and pound-foolish (local school boards cutting safety), and many others (like Congress) have tunnel vision with the hot button political issues of the day (health care, natural disasters, ESEA reauthorization, election rivalry and political posturing, etc.).
But I also wonder: Does anybody see what is going on with school safety funding? Does anyone really care? When will a school safety “stimulus” bill be proposed? Who will bail out school safety?
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