COLUMBUS -- Schools could receive grants of up to $100,000 to hire guards, install cameras and make other security improvements, under legislation being considered in the Ohio Senate.
A total of $70 million would be available over two fiscal years to fund the program proposed by Sen. Joe Schiavoni (D-Boardman).
"The state should be investing more in the security of our schools rather than relying on the local taxpayer to cover the costs of keeping kids safe," he told members of the Senate finance committee Wednesday during sponsor testimony on SB 126.
The legislation would provide grants based on enrollment, ranging from up to $25,000 in grants for districts with fewer than 1,000 students to a maximum of $100,000 for those with 10,000 or more.
The funds could be used to hire more people, make physical improvements to school buildings or cover other security projects, as determined by districts.
About $12 million was included in the state budget for school security grants, but Schiavoni called that a "baby step."
Language included in the budget bill also allows districts to place levies before voters to pay for security improvements. But Schiavoni said those levies would be difficult to pass in some areas.
"In my legislative district, one of the main concerns that I've heard from superintendents and school boards is their inability to go back to the ballot for additional dollars in order to make safety improvements," he said. "There simply is not support for placing 100 percent of the costs on the local property owner."
Marc Kovac is the Dix Capital Bureau Chief.
Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at OhioCapitalBlog.