Republican-led amendments invest over $35 million into school safety

Rep. Jim Wilson – Salida (HD 60)

DENVER—Late last night, the House of Representatives adopted two Republican budget amendments that allocate over $35 million of General Fund revenue for school resource officers and other forms of physical security. The amendments, one of which was sponsored by Representative Jim Wilson of Salida, a retired principal and superintendent, were two of six amendments that House Republicans introduced to address school security.

“I have walked the halls of many schools to assess security, organized community simulated active-shooter drills, and was lucky to have never lost a student to an attack in my 40 years as an educator – I want to take every measure necessary to ensure no other educator or school does either,” said Wilson. “Colorado has the revenue available to put a significant investment into meaningful school security, and I am pleased my colleagues supported these amendments.”

The budget amendments will require enacting legislation to use the funds, but the amendment footnote – which provides guidance for that legislation – specifies that the funds are to be used as grants for local school districts to modernize and upgrade school buildings, enhance school physical site security and hire school resource officers.

House Minority Leader Patrick Neville (R-Castle Rock), who was a student at Columbine High School during the attack in 1999, issued the following statement regarding the amendments:

“No child should ever experience what I went through as a student at Columbine, and we absolutely must act to protect our schools. I am encouraged that the Legislature took the step of funding more physical security, but we have a lot more work to do to ensure Colorado’s schools are safe and I look forward to those conversations with my colleagues.”

The first amendment adopted, sponsored by Representatives Kevin Van Winkle (R-Highlands Ranch) and Dave Williams (R-Colorado Springs) reallocates all $750,000 from the governor’s film incentives, and the second amendment draws $35 million from the state general fund.