JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — Tennessee school districts are set to receive extra funding for school safety.
Gov. Bill Lee signed legislation Wednesday committing $230 million to districts across the state. The law also requires schools to staff a school resource officer, something many local districts say they already do.
“Even though we have a school resource officer, and all of our schools in Washington County will be eligible to receive money to pay for those,” Washington County, Tennessee Sheriff Keith Sexton said.
The Washington County Sheriff’s Office spends $1.8 million on its school resource officer program, which places SROs at all county schools, according to Sexton.
Other school districts are considering renovations to improve security.
Carter County Director of Schools Brandon Carpenter said his district is already working on a plan to use some of the funds for security improvements. The district wants to create secure vestibules at the front of every school, which would allow visitors to enter the building while keeping the rest of the building secure.
“Some of our schools, older schools already have part of that,” Carpenter said. “We just want to go in and maybe do a few changes to make them a little more welcoming to the parents.”
The district would also like to install new lock systems.
The legislation requires school districts to ensure that doors are kept locked. Failing to do so could result in a loss of funding.
The new school safety funds will become available in July.