Governor Mike Pence is increasing school safety grant funding by more than $3 million in the wake of a shooting at an Oregon community college that left ten people, including the gunman, dead. However, the measure also comes after the new state budget cut that funding by more than half.
The legislature created the school safety grant fund in 2013 in response to the Newtown, Connecticut school shooting. Lawmakers appropriated $10 million a year for schools to hire resource officers and make safety improvements.
But the budget approved earlier this year cut that to $3.5 million a year. Governor Pence is now helping restore that cut, funneling $3.5 million for school safety. There’s also unspent money from previous years still in the fund.
Pence says the state has no higher priority than the safety of students and faculty at its schools. Democrats counter that if that were true, the governor and lawmakers wouldn’t have made cuts in the first place.
The new money flowing into the program is excess Department of Homeland Security dollars – essentially, unused funding that carried over from previous years.