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Dayton proposes nearly $21 million to improve school safety

ST. PAUL -- Gov. Mark Dayton released a proposal Wednesday that would increase 2019 public school funding by $15.9 million to help Minnesota school districts make safety improvements and add another $5 million in grants to provide mental health s...

ST. PAUL - Gov. Mark Dayton released a proposal Wednesday that would increase 2019 public school funding by $15.9 million to help Minnesota school districts make safety improvements and add another $5 million in grants to provide mental health services to students.

Since the Parkland, Florida shooting three weeks ago, at least 21 threats have been made against Minnesota schools, including threats against Adrian Public Schools and Jackson County Central last month.

“Our mission is to prevent every school shooting,” Dayton said in a statement Wednesday. “To succeed, we must take action now."

Under the plan, Independent School District 518 would receive an additional $68,461 next year. Adrian Public Schools would receive a smaller sum of $10,933 and Jackson County Central would get an additional $22,622.

Additional funds could be used to make facility improvements, such as secured entrances or bulletproof glass, or to hire more counselors or school resource officers. The plan also targets intervention and support for expelled students, requiring school districts to ensure expelled students are progressing with alternative educations and remain eligible for school-based mental health grants until they enroll in a new district.

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Dayton also said he supports additional measures to curb gun violence, including restricting persons under age-21 from purchasing semi-automatic military-style assault weapons and allowing family members and law enforcement to ask a judge to temporarily suspend a person’s access to firearms if they have evidence that the person poses a serious threat.

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