Arizona Leaders Indroduce School Safety Legislation Following Newtown Tragedy

January 25, 2013

This issue hits home for all of us as we want to make our schools as safe as possible, following the tragedies in Newtown and other communities.
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The Governor has allocated only $3.6 million for school-resource officers (police officers trained to work with students) in schools, amounting to only 100 officers throughout the state.  The Legislature cut funds for school resource officers, so the only guaranteed funding is from Prop. 301, a 0.06-cent sales tax that expires in 2021.
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House Minority Leader Chad Campbell (D-Phoenix)
, a potential gubernatorial candidate, has proposed comprehensive legislation that funds more school resource officers, school counselors and funding for mental illness.  He would fund part of the plan by eliminating the private school tax credit that diverts public funds to private schools and the controversial school tuition organizations that manage those funds. (For related articles on tax credits for private schools in Arizona, click
 here.)
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Former chair of the Senate Education Committee, Sen. Rich Crandall (R-Mesa)
 wants to identify a permanent funding source for school resource officers so the funding won’t be subject to yearly state budget cuts.  He doesn’t think the pro-privatized education Legislature will ever do away with private school tax credits, so he’s floating an alternate funding source:  excess Clean Elections funds.
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Neither supports the idea floated by Attorney General Tom Horne to arm school principals and teachers; however, Sen. Crandall said he would support allowing one school official to be armed in rural areas of Arizona.
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To watch an interesting exchange between the two legislators on PBS, go to:
 http://www.azpbs.org/video/vidlink.php?vidId=5454

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