Gov. Kemp plans $69 million for school security
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp announced his plan to give every public school in the state a one-time $30,000 check to be dedicated toward school security.
At the Georgia Chamber’s annual Eggs and Issues Breakfast — where over 2,000 of the state’s foremost business leaders, Chamber investors, and top elected officials gathered on Jan. 16 — the governor told attendees his plan to provide more money for public schools’ security systems and safety initiatives.
“We’re going to have $69 million in one-time funds in the amended budget for our school safety plan,” Kemp told the Marietta Daily Journal last week. “It’ll be $30,000 going to each school in the state — 2,294 of them.”
If approved by the Georgia General Assembly, Kemp’s plan would allow each school district to independently decide how to spend the money.
Calhoun City Schools Superintendent Michele Taylor and Gordon County Schools Superintendent Susan Remillard commented on how these additional funds would contribute to their already existing security measures.
“We would move forward and follow our list of security priorities,” Taylor said. “We might move towards increasing the number of cameras at the CPS/CES Complex and improve older equipment in our schools.”
Taylor said the CCS board is always looking at personnel matters and is interested in hiring resource officers if Kemp’s plan is approved. Currently, Calhoun Schools has two resource officers from the Calhoun Police Department who monitor the district’s campuses.
Anytime CCS can gain access to more resources and funds, the district is especially appreciative, said Taylor, and on behalf of the board she said the district is excited to hear what happens with the governor’s proposal.
Remillard commented how she is also excited that the governor is focusing on assisting the education sector, especially during his first weeks in office.
“I feel we do a good job securing our buildings, for the past five years we’ve really concentrated on that and keeping our kids safe,” Remillard said. “Whatever we could get from the governor we would absolutely try to put it to the best use and make (our schools) even safer.”
Remillard said they have been working with the Gordon County Sheriff’s Office to get off-duty officers in the schools, getting to know the students and establishing a presence to enforce security. They currently have officers in all of their six elementary schools every day and a full-time officer at Fairmount Elementary.
Both superintendents recognize that each community is different and has independent needs, and hope that if the plan is passed, schools will truly be able to make decisions on how to use the funds.
The 2019 Session Joint Budget Hearings for 2019 are scheduled to begin Jan. 22, according to Georgia General Assembly documents. All legislation and plans announced by Kemp are not official yet and must be approved by the General Assembly before becoming finalized.