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School boards looking to enhance safety technology

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BROOKFIELD, Ohio - School violence that often puts children in the cross hairs of a gunman is something every Mahoning Valley school district is desperately trying to avoid and is forced to prepare for.

With law enforcement training, paying for new and updated security measures is a critical component to school safety. But finding the funds is often difficult.

"One of the things our board is looking at is safety and personnel specific to safety. Can we afford to employ a school resource officer that would be here everyday?" said Timothy Saxton, Brookfield Schools Superintendent.

The Brookfield District paid for this high-tech system known as the Raptor that scans a visitors ID through a 50 state database, before printing a pass that allows access to the school.  

Now, Senate Bill 42, approved by the Ohio Senate on Wednesday is headed to the Ohio House. The bill would allow school districts to place property levies on the ballot.

Stipulating that the money would be earmarked for school safety measures.

"Anytime you can potentially levy those funds or ask the public for that input, it's a positive thing," Saxton said. "I think folks are generally inclined to vote for something that they know specifically where the money is going to be used."

While Valley Senator Joe Schiavoni voted in favor of the measure, he voiced major concerns that it won't aid school districts across the board and it comes down to Ohio's unresolved school funding issue.

"I voted yes because it's a school safety issue ... that might help a few schools with voters who are willing to vote for something like that. But it's not going to help all the districts because some of the districts aren't going to be in favor of more levies," Schiavoni said.

"So what we need to do is adequately fund from Columbus and give superintendents and give school boards the ability to be flexible with school dollars that come in," he said.

 

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