Alabama Education Department seeks school safety funding

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Alabama education officials are seeking money for school safety projects, the state superintendent said Friday.

Alabama Superintendent Eric Mackey told lawmakers that the Department of Education is seeking an additional $30 per student for school safety projects. The state superintendent said the money could be used for locks, cameras and other options including mental health.

“The biggest thing that people are asking for are locks,” Mackey said.

He said school systems could also use money to provide school offices for mental health counselors employed by the Department of Mental Health. He said that partnership would allow students to access care more easily by having the counselor work at the school.

“The model is to set that mental health counselor an office in the school and then students are going back and forth to them just like they go to a guidance counselor or assistant principal’s office, rather than having to transit off campus,” Mackey said.

Lawmakers last year voted to allow schools to use a state technology fund to pay for school resource officers or other security measures.

Mackey said the department is also seeking money for additional school nurses and to expand the state reading initiative.

Mackey discussed the funding request during budget hearings this week before state lawmakers. Lawmakers this spring will begin working on state budgets for the next fiscal year.

The 2019 legislative session begins March 5.

Republished with permission from the Associated Press.