U.S. Senator Tim Johnson (D-SD) today, with a group of his Senate colleagues, called on Senate leaders to support prioritized funding for school safety and violence prevention programs throughout the remainder of Fiscal Year 2013 and in Fiscal Year 2014.
"As we engage in a national dialogue about preventing gun violence, I wanted to make sure funding for school safety programs remains a key part of the discussion," Johnson said. "We face a challenging budget situation, but we must do all we can to make sure schools have the necessary resources to keep our students and educators safe."
Following the horrific tragedy in Newtown, states and communities across the nation have been working to improve violence prevention, safety, and emergency preparedness in schools, but there is limited federal funding available at this time to support these efforts. Johnson has heard from many school districts in South Dakota about the need for additional federal resources to help augment their local efforts to expand mental health services in schools, hire school resource officers, and buy school safety equipment. Johnson is a senior member of the Appropriations Committee and decided to make this push as the deadline for the continuing resolution approaches and Congress begins its work on the budget and appropriations process for FY 2014.
The letter sent by Johnson and six other Senators calls for Congress to make available grant funding that would help school districts create and implement emergency management plans. While recognizing the significant fiscal constraints facing Congress, the Senators also call for the highest possible amount of funding to be made available for key school safety programs that foster effective partnerships between the federal government and school districts.
A copy of the letter is available here: http://www.johnson.senate.gov/public/?a=Files.Serve&File_id=c32dc57e-062a-4083-95c1-e7021821d62d