By Don Rush
A bill pushed by State State Rep. Pamela Hornberger (R-Chesterfield) chair of the House Education Committee, delivering immediate funding to help Oxford Community Schools in its continued efforts to recover from the November tragedy, was signed into law by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on June 10.
“We carefully listened to the needs expressed by Oxford and worked with them to provie the tools they need to recover from the lasting impact of the tragedy that students, staff and the building itself withstood,” she said.
Public Act 93 provides a total of $6.8 million for Oxford schools for this fiscal year and the next. It will fund support services, such as a psychologist, family school liaison, and mental health director; safety measures, such as a school resource officer, security cameras, and a mass notification system; summer school; repairs; and other needs. The act also declares that it is the intent of the Legislature that results from summative assessments administered by the district from this school year are not used for retention decisions, educator evaluations, and other high-stakes decisions.
According to a release from the governor’s office, “The bipartisan legislation will go a long way towards keeping our students safe. First, it would help schools implement risk assessments to comprehensively identify the current status of their campus safety and determine where further investments are needed. Second, it would help schools complete critical incidence mapping for their campuses, ensuring that emergency plans and protocols are effective and in-place. The legislation includes a total of $14 million that will be awarded to all schools, including traditional public, intermediate school districts, and private schools, for $2,000 grants to complete a comprehensive safety and security assessment. The grants will be administered by the Department of Education. Third, the bill directly invests in Oxford Community Schools to help them recover from the shooting late last year. It will help them hire mental health professionals, enhance security, and offering additional learning time to students lost in the wake of the tragedy.”