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Idaho schools seek to spend $21 million on school safety next year

The Idaho Statehouse. The Idaho Department of Education plans to seek support for a $21 million school safety initiative in the 2019 legislative session. File photo.

Idaho Superintendent of Public Instruction Sherri Ybarra is preparing to pitch a $21 million school safety initiative — Keep Idaho Students Safe, or KISS — to the Legislature in January.

The Idaho Press-Tribune reported the initiative would, among other things, allocate $25,500 to every school in the state for security purposes, said Matt McCarter, the state’s director of student engagement.

Ybarra initially wanted the plan to focus on anti-bullying and suicide prevention efforts, but after this year’s mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, she added a proposal centered on school security.

The $25,500 each district would receive for every school under Ybarra’s proposal is expected to especially help rural schools without full-time security personnel to hire employees for that purpose.

The Kuna School District, though, recently made its own efforts to increase security personnel at schools. Some of the revenue from the district’s May 2017 bond is being used on security updates.

“I think every school district in the nation has taken a real hard look at school security, and (we’re) making sure we’re doing everything we can to make our schools safe,” said David Reinhart, the district’s administrator of human resources and communication. “An unsafe environment is not a learning environment.”

Smaller school districts, such as in Melba, also increased security. The district hired a part-time school resource officer to serve its 810 students spread between two schools.

 

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