School safety bill ignores schools with highest needs, funnels money to private schools

A Senate Republican bill to provide school safety aid to Minnesota schools ignored the schools with the highest needs and funneled money to non-public schools across Minnesota.

The bill is mirrors legislation passed last session except with an added provision for private schools. The total bill could cost Minnesotans $90 million. Public, charter, and private schools would receive $36 per student to implement safe school programs, such as additional school support staff, emergency communications devices, and other security-enhancing programs. It is unclear how the total funding bill would be paid for this session.

The Republican author, however, again ignored intermediate school districts, which educate some of the most challenging students and can pose the most serious threats to other students and staff. The cost to provide the additional $36 per student is $3 million per year, which is also roughly the cost to provide funds to the private schools.

School safety has been a top concern since the Parkland School shooting in 2018. Despite promises to enhance school safety and security, the Republicans continue to put the issue on the back burner. Last session, some money in one-time aid was approved, but those funds will not continue this session. (SF3629)