SCHOOL SECURITY | $30M approved for upgrades in Maryland
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WBFF) - Maryland's $44.5-billion operating budget, approved Thursday by the House of Delegates, includes $30 million to improve security in public schools.
The House voted 125-12 in favor of the budget, which came two days after a school shooting in St. Mary's County.
A 17-year-old male student shot and wounded two other students, one critically, Tuesday morning at Great Mills High School.
A school resource officer responded immediately to the shooting, and sheriffs say he and the teenage gunman exchanged gunfire.
Police are trying to determine which bullet struck the suspect.
During debate on the state's operating budget, Baltimore County Del. Joe Cluster mentioned the shooting and the quick response by the school's resource officer.
Cluster told his colleagues: "Luckily, there was an SRO in that school. Thank God there was, because if there wasn't, I'm scared what could have happened."
During the budget debate, Republican Del. Deborah Rey offered an amendment that would have added another $1 million for school security.
The amendment would have deleted $1 million set aside for Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh to pursue legal challenges to federal policies adopted by the Trump administration.
Del. William Folden, a Republican who represents Frederick County, said: "There's nothing more important than the immediacy of finding safer measures to protect our children in our schools than right now."
But the House of Delegates rejected the amendment.
Baltimore City Del. Maggie McIntosh, who chairs the House Appropriations Committee, told her colleagues: "This rhetoric out here on the floor about the attorney general has nothing to do with school safety."
"Let's move forward and see how we can improve the governor's initiative," she said.
The House Ways and Means Committee held a hearing Thursday on Gov. Larry Hogan's proposal, which would set aside $12.5 million in grants to local school systems to enhance security measures.
A budget conference committee, including members of the House and Senate, are expected to convene soon to work out differences in the budget enacted by the House and Senate.