Lexington superintendent implores Bevin to develop, fund statewide school safety plan

Fayette Superintendent Manny Caulk at Monday's school board meeting praised Florida Republican Governor Rick Scott’s $500 million school safety plan and implored Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin to follow that lead.

Since January, both Florida and Kentucky have seen fatal school shootings.

Caulk noted that in response to the school shooting in Florida, Republican Governor Rick Scott had issued an action plan to put a law enforcement officer in every public school, hire mental health counselors in every school, and increase safe schools funding to provide metal detectors, bulletproof glass, steel doors and upgraded locks in schools.

“Gov. Scott has estimated the price tag for those changes in Florida schools to be $450 million and he’s also calling for a $50 million investment in mental health services throughout the state,” Caulk said. “He’s not waiting for the legislature to develop proposals, he’s taking his plan to them. It’s clear that Gov. Scott wants to increase safety in Florida’s schools.”

“We should follow their lead in some respects.”

Caulk first asked Bevin, a Republican, to increase school safety funding statewide last week when Caulk announced new safety measures for the district.

On Monday, Caulk commended Bevin for proposals in his budget to raise the salaries for social workers and to reform the adoption and foster care systems.

“Those investments will help provide for the safety of children in a loving home. But that safety should extend to the school house. I continue to implore the Governor to fully fund education, add additional funding for school safety and security, and increase funding for mental health services. ... Every child in Kentucky deserves to attend a safe school.”

“I and many leaders across the state stand ready to work with the Governor to bring forward a system school safety and security plan,” Caulk said.

Bevin’s office did not immediately respond to a request for a comment.

Valarie Honeycutt Spears: 859-231-3409, @vhspears

The new District Safety Advisory Council hosts its first meeting from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday March 1 at Paul Laurence Dunbar High School in Lexington. The public is invited and feedback is welcome..

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