State lawmakers Create New Tax Plan To Beef Up School Security

Senator Tommy Williams. Photo is from the the Senate of Texas website.
After the massacre last month at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut, school safety is a huge concern across the country. And in Texas, three state lawmakers have an idea to help schools beef up security.

The latest idea on how to make schools and students safer in Texas involves money. Taxes, actually.

Three state lawmakers from the Houston area want to let residents in school districts vote on special, extra taxes just for school security.

The money could fund things like armed security guards and cameras.

Republican state Senator Tommy Williams explains at a press conference in Austin.

“Now school districts are forced to fund these measures out of their maintenance and operations portion of their taxes. So, this would actually create a new funding source for security.”

Williams says the new funding would be a dedicated sales tax or a special property tax. He says residents would vote and decide on any extra taxes and the local school districts would manage the money.

It’s not clear how much the extra taxes would be.

And the whole idea may need a constitutional amendment.

But Williams is working on the plan with state Senator John Whitmire and Representative Dan Huberty. Whitmire is a Democrat and Huberty, a Republican.

Whitmire says they don’t want to create new school police departments. Instead, districts would decide how to spend the money for security.

“It may be technology it may be cameras, it may be additional personnel.”

The bill is still being drafted and is expected to be filed soon.

From the KUHF education desk, I’m Laura Isensee.

Bio photo of Laura Isensee

Laura Isensee

Education Reporter

Laura Isensee covers education for KUHF, including K-12 and higher education.

Previously, she was a staff reporter at The Miami Herald and regularly contributed to WLRN, the local NPR affiliate and Miami Herald news partner...