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Fitzgerald, Jagler Comment on School Safety

By John Forester | March 2, 2018

From WisPolitics.com …

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald told WisPolitics.com he’s looking at using one-time money for building improvements as part of any school safety plan the Legislature may take up.

Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, stressed he has not spoken with his full caucus and has only discussed the package briefly with Gov. Scott Walker. So Fitzgerald said he was hesitant to talk about suggestions such as arming teachers, which Walker opposes, or adding armed security guards at schools.

He’s focused on one-time GPR in this biennium, he said, rather than allowing an increase in the school levy, which could result in a property tax increase.

“But we really do want to work with the governor to make sure we’re covering all the bases,” Fitzgerald said. “We’re not going to do anything until he kind of rolls something out here.”

Walker spokeswoman Amy Hasenberg said a plan will be introduced once there is agreement with lawmakers. But it will not include arming teachers after feedback the guv has received while meeting with educators. Hasenberg also noted feedback to Walker suggests more money for mental health services.

“School officials who attended his listening sessions across the state repeatedly raised concerns about mental health services in schools, so he made a significant investment in school social workers, collaboration for mental health services and screening and trauma informed care training for school staff,” she said.

GOP state Rep. John Jagler, who cited threats at two schools in his district in recent weeks, tweeted out ideas on what he’d like to see in any school safety package.

Jagler, R-Watertown, noted he is not part of negotiations on a possible package. Still, he pointed out the Waterloo School District is looking at a referendum this fall to pay for safety measures after it closed Feb. 21 due to a threat that resulted in a high school student being arrested. He said he also spoke with the Columbus superintendent, who he said has a list of safety needs after a threat there that also led to an arrest.

Jagler said he would like a school safety package to focus on one-time capital improvements.

“All the administrators, every one of them, has a list of stuff that they want to do that they think they need to do,” Jagler said. “Some of them are big; some of them are small. Some of them are simply better locks on classroom doors, a few more video cameras.”

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