As students ready to head back to school Tuesday, a recently-released report from the state says Maryland is leading the way on school safety.
The Maryland Safe To Learn Act of 2018, passed in the most recent legislative session, provides a roadmap to improving school safety, though many of the changes and funding required by the bill won’t take effect until future school years, according to the evaluation on school safety filed by the Maryland Department of State Police and Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention.
The passing of the bill, which went into effect June 1, consolidated school safety funding and operations into the Maryland Center for School Safety and. the Interagency Commission on School Construction, diverging from Maryland Department of State Police and the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention, a move the report stated as “reasonable” but also making it “premature to draw any conclusions on the effectiveness of the changes.”
The report added that due to funding changes, schools should become “a great deal safer in the near future.”
The Maryland Safe To Learn Act of 2018 created a new group called the School Safety Subcabinet, which pools together state and local resources to establish statewide standards for school safety.
Monetarily, the fiscal 2019 operating budget calls for $40.6 million in operating and capital funds to improve school safety. The bill also calls for more than $37 million to be available in grants for local school systems in a “safe schools fund.” The Maryland Center For School Safety will also receive an additional $2.5 million to fund the creation of 13 new positions.
Starting in 2020, an additional $10 million will be allocated to fund school resource officers and another $10 million for school security capital improvements.
The report applauded the legislature for the passage of the Maryland Safe to Learn Act.
“Although this report was designed to answer the need for guidance on the future of school safety initiatives, the Maryland General Assembly in concert with the administration took the lead by proposing specific legislation to address the need,” the report stated.