HARRISBURG – Senator Scott Martin (R-13) today criticized Governor Wolf today for cutting funding for a key school safety grant program on the same day that he sent a letter to lawmakers detailing the impact of school shootings on students, teachers and parents.
On Tuesday, Wolf sent a letter to lawmakers along with a book memorializing school shooting victims throughout the nation in 2018.
“For far too long, Pennsylvanians have learned to live with the fear that their names may one day be listed in a book like this one,” Wolf said in the letter. “I have heard from both parents and teachers who are fraught with anxiety at the lockdown drills young children participate in as a result of this ongoing threat, and I have heard from students who are fearful that their schools may be the next to experience such a tragedy.”
On the same day, Governor Wolf presented a budget proposal that would slash funding for the School Safety and Security Grant Program next year by $45 million – a 75-percent cut.
Martin co-authored the law that created the grant program in 2018, as well as a law that strengthened the program in 2019.
“It is unfathomable to me that you would send a letter to lawmakers detailing the tragic impact of school shootings on the same day that you proposed a budget that so dramatically reduces the progress we have made over the past two years to make our schools safer,” Martin said in a letter to Wolf today. “Given the circumstances and timing of this letter, it is hard to classify it as anything other than a brazen case of gross political hypocrisy.”
Martin criticized Wolf for politicizing the issue of school safety despite the fact that both parties support the grant program.
“All parties understand the need for this funding, and all parties should understand its importance to school districts,” Martin said. “This issue should not be a point of contention in budget negotiations, nor should it be used as a bargaining chip to win concessions on other budgetary issues. This funding is too important to be held hostage for other political demands.”
Martin also noted that Wolf praised the grant program several months ago as “the mechanism we need to create local strategies that will increase safety for our children and our teachers and prevent violence in classrooms and communities across the commonwealth.”
“I welcome a continued discussion about how we can reduce the risk of violence in our communities, particularly in our schools,” Martin said. “However, the first and easiest step we can take to safeguard our schools against potential threats is by immediately reversing the wrong-headed and counterproductive policy of gutting one of the most effective school safety programs in the country.”
CONTACT: Terry Trego (717) 787-6535