Sen. Charles Schumer on Monday called on the federal government to boost funding for school anti-violence measures.
Schumer said he is concerned about dramatic cuts over the last few years to grants that help schools pay for security measures such as cameras and preparedness drills.
“Safety’s got to be very important to schools, and these schools know that,” said Schumer, D-N.Y., during a news conference at Cheektowaga Central High School. “The question is, can the federal government help out so that money that they get they can use for education?”
Schumer’s office has calculated that Department of Education and Department of Justice programs aimed at helping schools prepare for emergency situations had been cut by more than $100 million during the last four years, despite high-profile incidences of school violence.
Schumer was joined by Superintendents Dennis Kane of Cheektowaga Central and Mark Crawford of West Seneca Central Schools, as well as other community leaders.
Kane said his district received a three-year grant through the Department of Education’s Readiness and Emergency Management Program in 2009 that helped the district train for emergency situations, including planning for off-site evacuations. But he said the district could use more federal help to work on school security.
The money Cheektowaga Central received was through a federal grant program that has had its funding cut the last four years, Schumer said.
Crawford said his district spends $254,000 a year on four school resource officers at West Seneca’s middle and high schools, as well as $400,000 on other security staff. That money, he said, comes out of the district’s local funds.