$40M proposal to improve school safety in Tennessee advances

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – A $40 million proposal to improve school safety is advancing in the Tennessee Legislature. 

The House Education Committee agreed Wednesday to send the Gov. Bill Lee-backed bill to a finance panel to be reviewed. 

The proposal sparked a lengthy discussion among lawmakers concerned the bill was being oversold on how it would help schools. 

According to the bill, the funding would be distributed as safety grants to help pay for school resource officers and other safety priorities. Schools would provide matching funds to get grants. 

Multiple lawmakers noted the money currently allocated is not enough to fund a school resource officer at all of Tennessee’s roughly 1,800 schools. Others asked why the state didn’t pursue cheaper options, including the possibility of arming more teachers rather than hiring an officer. 

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