Sen. Marshall touts legislation earmarking unused COVID funds for school security

Marshall urges COVID education funds be used for school security.
Marshall urges COVID education funds be used for school security.(MGN)
Published: Jun. 9, 2022 at 8:01 AM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - An estimated $150.1 billion of available COVID funds has yet to be spent by schools according to U.S. Senator Roger Marshall. Thursday (6/9), he and U.S. Congressman Mike Garcia (CA-25) introduced the Safe Schools Act legislation. The law would allow COVID relief dollars for the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) fund to be used by schools to “harden themselves” with physical security measures. According to a news release, that would include locks, panic buttons, individual room security systems, video surveillance, and hiring and paying the salaries of armed school resource officers. Current ESSER guidelines require expenses be related to COVID-19.

According to Marshall’s office, the Kansas Department of Education has only spent $261.3 million of the $1.28 billion funds awarded to it. Nationally, of the $189.5 billion of COVID money for schools, state education agencies have yet to spend 79.2% of it or $150.1 billion.

“What happened in Uvalde was a horrific tragedy,” Senator Marshall said. “While many have been quick to play politics, one thing we can all agree on is that Congress must act to harden schools. For these reasons, I am introducing this legislation that allows the abundance of unused COVID relief dollars to be diverted to secure schools in Kansas and throughout the nation.”

Rep. Garcia agreed. “Now more than ever, we must be proactive in securing our schools. All Constitutional options need to be examined to ensure our children are safe in the classroom. I’m proud to join Senator Marshall in introducing the Safe Schools Act, a common-sense bill that would allow schools to spend leftover COVID relief funds on crucial security improvements to protect students from harm.”

According to the news release, there were 67 disrupted plots against K-12 schools from 2006-2018 – 66% of the schools had no system for alerting officials to concerns or threats.

Text of Senator Marshall’s Safe School’s Act is available HERE. Senators Tim Scott (SC), Thom Tillis (NC), Steve Daines (MT), Rick Scott (FL), Chuck Grassley (IA), Todd Young (IN), and Mike Braun (IN) have cosponsored the legislation.

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