Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Wayne DeAngelo and Nancy Pinkin to provide schools with the wherewithal to fund security enhancements was advanced Monday by the Senate Education Committee.
“The thought of a violent attack at an elementary school might have seemed unimaginable before, but it is a harsh reality of the world we live in today,” said DeAngelo (D-Mercer/Middlesex). “Schools have their work cut out for them having to meet demands with limited resources. Creating a safe environment for our children to learn is essential. Providing schools with the resources needed to enhance security measures and make schools safer is an investment worth making.”
The bill (A-209) would exclude certain increases in school security expenditures from the tax levy cap applicable to school districts. Under current law, school districts may increase their tax levies, with certain exceptions, by no more than two percent relative to the prior budget year. The bill provides that any annual increase in expenditures on school security costs in excess of two percent incurred by a district would be excluded from the limit.
“While fiscal responsibility certainly is important, there’s far too much at stake for schools to make decisions about students’ safety based on cost and not quality,” said Pinkin (D-Middlesex). “This legislation will give school districts the authority to weigh all their options and decide what is best for the children they serve.”
The measure was approved 51-16-6 by the Assembly in April.