NASHVILLE - Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today proposed $30 million to improve school safety across the state in the amendment to the fiscal year 2018-19 budget proposal to be considered by the General Assembly in the coming weeks.
The funding includes $25 million in nonrecurring and $5.2 million in recurring school safety grants. Earlier this month, the governor appointed a School Safety Working Group to review school safety in Tennessee and provide recommendations to enhance the security of school children. In the coming days, the working group will submit options for consideration that will serve as a basis for state action and approved school safety measures.
"Our children deserve to learn in a safe and secure environment and I've asked the working group to make specific recommendations on school safety measures," Haslam said. "These additional school safety funds, which include doubling the current amount of recurring funding we have through our school safety grants, will provide our schools with additional resources to meet their specific needs."
The budget amendment also contains $3 million in nonrecurring funds for grants to provide funding for school districts to address the extra costs associated with purchasing buses equipped with seat belts.
Other notable investments in the FY 18-19 budget amendment include:
• $5 million in nonrecurring broadband accessibility grants, in addition to the $10 million initially included in the FY 18-19 budget. The governor's Broadband Accessibility Act became law in 2017 and committed $30 million in grants over three years.
• $9 million in nonrecurring funds to purchase equipment at the 27 Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology to improve and modernize a broad variety of workforce development programs.
• An additional $1 million in recurring funds to provide mental health treatment and recovery services as part of TN Together - the governor's comprehensive plan to end the opioid crisis in Tennessee.
• $2 million in nonrecurring funds for an addiction services research program at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in support of TN Together
• $10 million in nonrecurring funds for the Aeronautics Development Fund to create jobs and investment opportunities in Tennessee's aviation industry.
The amendment includes $74 million in nonrecurring funds and $9.8 million in recurring funds.
The budget amendment is traditionally introduced in the final weeks of the legislative session for consideration and approval by the General Assembly. Finance and Administration Commissioner Larry Martin will present the budget amendment to the House and Senate Finance committees later Tuesday.