Republicans in the Virginia House of Delegates proposed $31 million in new funding for school security Friday, including $1.7 million for the existing School Resource Officer Grant Initiative and $30 million to create a revolving fund to provide for security infrastructure projects in schools throughout the Commonwealth. The $1.7 million appropriation for school resource officers would be the largest single appropriation in the history of the program. The announcements were made by Delegate Beverly J. Sherwood (R-Frederick) on the floor of the House of Delegates.
“The measures we are recommending today will help ensure that our public schools continue to be safe and se-cure places where students can learn and succeed,” said Delegate Sherwood. “Working together, we can provide the tools for school resource officers, school security officers and infrastructure improvements necessary to en¬suring that Virginia remains one of the best places to raise a child for years to come.”
When the House Budget proposal is unveiled Sunday, it will include $1.7 million for the School Resource Officer Grant Initiative. House Republicans plan to add $1.3 million to the existing $400,000 appropriation, bringing the total appropriation for the program to $1.7 million. The budget will also include the creation of a $30 million revolving grant program consisting of $6 million annually over five years. This program will pro¬vide competitive grants of up to $100,000 per year to school divisions for security infrastructure improvements.
“The tragedy that happened last year in Newtown, Connecticut has prompted us to look closely at the safety of our schools and communities and to make improvements where we see shortfalls,” said House Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford). “Additional funding to hire school resource officers and additional funding to cover the costs of security improvements are responsible and reasonable steps we can take to make our communities safer and stronger.”
“As a retired high school history teacher with 30 years of classroom experience, I believe strongly that class-rooms are a place for developing a love for learning, not violence,” said House Majority Leader Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights). “In the wake of the tragedy at Sandy Hook, we are committed to improving school safety in a meaningful and responsible way. The proposals we have outlined today will do make our classrooms and schools safer.
Additional funding for the School Resource Officer Initiative was also a recommendation of Governor Bob McDonnell’s task force on school safety. The House of Delegates will consider Governor McDonnell’s final recommendations once they have been made.