SCHUMER REVEALS: DESPITE HORRIFIC TRAGEDIES, JUST-RELEASED ADMIN. BUDGET WOULD SLASH FED FUNDS SCHOOLS DEPEND ON FOR SAFETY & SECURITY; DRASTIC CUTS OF OVER $400 MILLION EVEN SLASH MENTAL HEALTH AID FOR STUDENTS & TEACHERS; SENATOR VOWS SENATE PUSH TO SHINE LIGHT ON CUTS & UNDO THEM THIS WEEK
Despite Calls For Safer Schools, The Budget Admin. Just Handed To Congress Actually Decimates Programs That Have Made Schools Safer; Programs Schools Like Newtown Have Used In Wake Of Terrible Tragedy; Senator Says Fed School Safety Programs Need Investment, Not Drastic Slashing
Schumer Vows Major Effort To Restore Programs That Help Schools Plan For Emergencies, Bolster Mental Health Programs, Prevent Crimes & Help Save Lives
Schumer: Proposal To Slash School Safety Funds Amidst National Tragedy Could Spell Disaster
Amidst a national tragedy and despite bipartisan calls for safer schools, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today revealed that the just-released administration’s Department of Education budget proposal for fiscal year 2019 makes $425 million in cuts to school safety and mental health assistance programs. Following the Parkland tragedy, officials who craft the Department of Education’s budget have said they are committed to working with state and local leaders to help secure our schools and tackle the difficult issue of mental health. But Schumer says that the administration’s proposal to slash school safety funds amidst the Florida tragedy could be disastrous for all of us. Schumer, today, vowed to return to Washington Monday and launch a Senate push to shine a light on the cuts to school safety programs that help schools plan for emergencies, bolster mental health programs, prevent crimes and overall, save lives. Schumer further vowed an effort to try and undo the cuts this week.
“School safety is one of the pillars of what the federal government should be supporting and to know that we have a budget pieced together by the administration that undermines the duty of the Department of Education on so many levels is nails on the chalkboard,” said U.S. Senator Charles Schumer. “We are in a time where we need to do more—not less—to ensure our schools have the resources, programming and the federal dollars to address everything from the safety and mental health of students, to support for teachers and administrators. And it is particularly troubling that we are in the midst of a national tragedy in Florida and having to talk about these cuts because the students impacted by the Parkland shooting are going to need the exact kinds of funding and support that Newton received in the wake of that horrific shooting. To think Florida—or any other community—that needs to have programs in place to handle this trauma, do not, demands immediate change and attention. That’s why I am pledging to work with republicans and democrats across the aisle to undo these senseless Department of Education cuts to our nation’s schools and why I am confident Congress can pass the test and work together to make our schools safer, not less safe, as this budget could very well do.”
The administration’s budget proposal eliminates numerous grant programs aimed at helping local school districts. For instance, the budget eliminates “project prevention grants” which, according to the U.S. Department of Education, provide federal funds to local educational agencies to increase their capacity to identify, assess and serve students exposed to pervasive violence and helps ensure that affected students are offered mental health services for trauma or anxiety. The grants also help implement school-based violence prevention strategies to reduce the likelihood that these students will later commit violent acts.
Specifically, the administration’s budget proposal also eliminates the SERV program or the “School Emergency Response to Violence Program”, which funds education-related services to help them recover from a violent or traumatic events in which the learning environment has been disrupted. For instance, the district of Newtown was awarded millions of dollars of these funds in the wake of the Sandy Hook tragedy; and the Baltimore’s public schools were also awarded these funds following a student homicide. It also eliminates funding for “Project Prevent,” which gives students access to mental health services and implements school-based safety violence prevention programs.
In addition, the proposal eliminates the $400 million Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grant program. Local districts must use at least 20 percent of their funding from this program for violence prevention programs, mental health services and training for crisis management and conflict resolution. Those cuts, Schumer reported, greatly hinder the federal funding to programs with a mission to improve school safety and responses to threats of violence.
Finally, the administration is proposing to totally eliminate before-and-after-school summer programs at schools. There is a direct cut of the entire $1.2 billion program. The program serves 1.7 million students nationwide and its funding can be used to support violence prevention activities and programs to help kids, even those who have been suspended.
Schumer said, today, that eliminating these kinds of federal Department of Education funds and programs to schools would undermine schools safety across the country and cause particular undue hardship for Florida, where the need for the aforementioned programs that help kids heal will be critical to the entire community’s recovery.
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