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(INDIANAPOLIS) – The push to get teachers more money could run up against the effort to beef up school safety.

Legislators boosted a $14 million grant fund for school safety by more than a third. But they killed language which would have allowed that money to fund mental health efforts, under pressure from conservative groups who warned it could erode parents’ authority. 

State school superintendent Jennifer McCormick says schools will still put money into forming partnerships with social workers and creating access to mental health treatment. She says schools from large urban districts to small urban ones agree it’s a critical step to addressing school safety. She says if grants can’t be used that way, schools will have to make it part of their general budget. She cautions that will make it harder for schools to meet the newly established target of spending 85{b738c8d81c72d45da79d596f76991eeb044315dc3b27bc6668899a5a04085174} of their money in the classroom, a law intended to boost teacher pay.

McCormick says while school safety brings up images of school shootings, it covers more ground than that, including a teen suicide rate that’s second in the nation. She says mental health is a critical part of addressing both.

Superintendent of Public Instruction Jennifer McCormick (Photo: Eric Berman/WIBC)