New school funding bill allocates $5,000,000 for panic buttons

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Panic button - Photo 4996904 © Jonathan Souza | Dreamstime.com

Trenton – Legislation sponsored by Senator Paul Sarlo that would appropriate $5 million from the “Securing Our Children’s Future Fund” to the Department of Education to provide grants to 60 districts for school security projects was approved by the Senate today and sent to the Governor.

The grants would pay for installing panic alarm systems required under “Allyssa’s Law,” the 2019 law requiring all primary and secondary schools in New Jersey to install “panic alarms” that can silently notify law enforcement of life-threatening or emergency situations. The law was named after Alyssa Alhadeff, a 14-year-old who was killed along with 16 others at Marjory Stoneman Public High School in Parkland Florida in a mass killing on Valentine’s Day in 2018.

“This is an investment in the safety of school children and educators in schools across the state,” said Senator Sarlo. “The ‘panic alarms’ provide a level of silent security that we hope is never needed but is always there. State funds will allow schools to install the system.”

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The bond act, which authorized the issuance of $500 million in general obligation bonds to be allocated as grants for the costs of career and technical education expansion grants, school security projects, and school district water infrastructure improvements grants in school districts and county colleges, was approved by New Jersey voters in 2018. It included $75 million for The School Security Grant Program. More than $65 million in security grants were distributed in May.

The grant recipients in the legislation, S-4309, can be found here.

The bill was approved by the Senate by a vote of 39-0.