Texas Announces $105 Million in New Funding for School Safety

Gov. Greg Abbott spoke at a press conference at Uvalde High School on May 25. | Image by Texas Tribune

Governor Greg Abbott announced on June 28 that $105.5 million in already-approved funding would be transferred to various agencies and programs to enhance school security and improve mental health care in the wake of the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.

Funds were identified through coordinated efforts of the Governor’s Office, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, State Speaker Dade Phelan, Senate Finance Committee Chair Joan Huffman, and House Appropriations Chair Dr. Greg Bonnen.

“There is no government function more critical than public safety,” Abbott wrote in response to a proposal from Patrick, Phelan, Huffman, and Bonnen. “Though there is tremendous work that will need to be undertaken in the 88th Legislative Session, there are definitive actions we can take today that will improve safety and security for the upcoming school year. While no item is intended or imagined to address every conceivable outcome, when taken together with the steps Texas has already taken, the result will be that Texas school children, teachers, and families are safer.”

The bulk of the financing comes from General Appropriations Funds allocated to the Texas Education Agency, while an additional amount not to exceed $5 million is coming from the Texas Health and Human Services (HHS) budget.

According to the Governor’s Office, $100.5 million of the funding is available due to a budget surplus of Foundation School Program Funds this fiscal year.

Under the terms of the allocation, funding from the HHS budget is earmarked for the Hill Country Mental Health & Developmental Disabilities Center to provide services to the Uvalde community.

The largest proposed expenditure for school safety is $50 million to purchase bullet-resistant shields for use by school resource officers and police forces responding to active shooter situations.

Another $17.1 million will be used to buy and install silent alarm technology to help schools more rapidly alert police when a crisis occurs on campus.

“With the new school year starting in a few short months, it is of paramount importance that we provide this funding to improve school safety and mental health services,” Patrick said. “A few weeks ago, I said I wanted to ensure we provided bullet-resistant shields to our schools as soon as we could. Schools must be equipped with all the tools they need to protect our students. This funding will also address important mental health care issues. In the upcoming session, we will build on the $100 million we appropriated in 2019 after the Santa Fe tragedy for these issues and more.”

The coalition of lawmakers indicated that school safety and mental health would be priority topics when the next Legislative session begins in January.

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1 Comment

  1. Get Real

    So the $105.5 million for the 5.3 million of Texas students will amount to a whopping $20 per student.


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