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"Insufficient Funding: Texas' Campus Safety Budget Falls Short of New State Mandates"

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Texas Campus Safety Funding Falls Short of State Mandates, School Leaders Say

Despite state legislators prioritizing school safety after the tragic Uvalde school shooting, Texas schools are voicing concerns that the approved $1.4 billion funding for new initiatives is inadequate. School districts fear that political disputes over vouchers may hinder their chances of receiving additional assistance. House Bill 3, signed into law by Governor Greg Abbott, mandates active-shooter plans, mental health training, silent panic buttons, and armed guards on campuses. However, many school officials argue that the allocated $10 per student and $15,000 per campus is insufficient to cover the costs, including hiring new personnel. Limited vendors and mandated safety measures like protective fencing further inflate expenses, particularly for smaller districts already struggling with funding for other needs. Dallas ISD Chief Operations Officer David Bates highlights the financial challenges faced by urban districts, where the cost of hiring an armed guard can reach $65,000 to $70,000 per campus. Even if the Senate passes Senate Bill 2, which proposes increased funding for school safety, schools argue that it still falls short. The financial burden of safety measures, along with recapture payments and declining enrollment, adds strain to districts' budgets. Students, like Khang Ngo, express concerns about the effectiveness of these measures, fearing that increased safety measures may not be enough to prevent school shootings. Despite the challenges, Texas leaders emphasize their commitment to student safety, urging continued efforts to improve school security. School leaders hope to collaborate with the state to find cost-effective solutions while prioritizing student safety and education.

Implications for New Businesses in Texas

The shortfall in campus safety funding and the increasing costs of implementing state mandates could have significant implications for new businesses in Texas, particularly those in the education and security sectors.

Opportunities for Security and Education Businesses

For businesses in the security industry, the increased demand for safety measures such as protective fencing, silent panic buttons, and armed security personnel could present new opportunities. However, these businesses may also face challenges in providing cost-effective solutions that fit within school districts' budgets.

Challenges for Educational Institutions

New educational institutions may face increased startup costs due to the need to implement state-mandated safety measures. These additional costs could potentially deter entrepreneurs from establishing new schools or educational facilities in Texas.
In conclusion, while the state's focus on campus safety is commendable, the funding shortfall presents challenges for both schools and businesses. As Texas strives to improve school safety, it will be crucial for state leaders, school officials, and businesses to collaborate on finding cost-effective and practical solutions that ensure the safety of students without placing an undue financial burden on schools or stifling business growth.
Article First Published Here: https://feeds.texastribune.org/link/16799/16419843/texas-school-safety-funding
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