Texas State University is asking state legislators for $79 million in “exceptional items” over two years that will partly fund statewide school safety efforts and active law enforcement shooter training.
Every two years prior to the legislative session, Texas public colleges and universities submit an appropriation request to the governor’s office and the Legislative Council on the Budget, outlining their basic funding requests for items such as faculty and staff salaries and infrastructure support.
In requests, it is also common for each school to ask for money for “exceptional subjects” or special initiatives beyond what is listed in the base funding.
More:Here are the higher education bills, issues before the Texas Legislative Session.
This year, Texas State University is asking for $50 million in “equity funding” to make its overall state allocation more equitable than other public universities in the state. The increase in funding will help the State of Texas recruit faculty and staff, support academic programs and conduct groundbreaking research, the request says.
His other requests include $9 million for the Texas School Security Center, $6.6 million for the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training Center, $7.6 million for the Texas State Forensic Science Academy, and $5.8 million for the Student Success Center.
“Like every American, we would prefer not to make such requests, but we are ready to take urgent action to help protect our children in their schools and prepare our law enforcement officers to respond to mass shooting incidents anywhere.” the school said in its request.
Here’s a full breakdown of what the state of Texas is asking for:
Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training
Texas State University is seeking $6.6 million for its Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training Center, which provides active fire response training for first responders.
Following the Uvalda school shooting, in which a gunman shot and killed 19 students and two teachers in May, Governor Greg Abbott directed the ALERRT Center to provide training to all school districts across the state, prioritizing school law enforcement.
Mike Wintemuth, spokesman for the Texas State University system, said the funding will ensure that all new Texas police officers receive an ALERRT Level I class and that all officers in the state receive 16 hours of periodic training every three years. Funding will also go towards information technology equipment, software and staff to enable the university to provide such training annually as requested.
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The university is also asking for approximately $1.1 million in FY 2024 salaries and $1.2 million in FY 2025 for the center’s 15 staff.
“As demand for our training grows, our retained funding remains static and our ability to meet the needs of Texans is limited,” the request reads. “This request will provide funding that will greatly improve our ability to serve Texas peace officers.”
Texas School Security Center
The university is requesting $9 million for the Texas School Safety Center, which provides safety education and training for K-12 schools, charter schools, and junior colleges in the state.
Wintemute said the funding will allow the center to continue to conduct annual violator assessments in 25% of Texas school campuses and field compliance reviews in 25% of school districts. It will also allow the center to view emergency plans and collect safety data from every school district in Texas, he said.
The school is asking for about $1.6 million in the fiscal year for the salaries of 18 center employees, including three employees to develop their own software to manage statewide intrusion detection checks, school security compliance checks, and other efforts.
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Failure by the state to provide funding would “result in the loss of targeted school education/resources, research and technical assistance, impacting the safety of more than 5.3 million students in our public schools,” the request says.
“Tragedies in Santa Fe, Uvalda, El Paso and elsewhere remind us that we must do everything in our power to resolve these situations, and the state of Texas has a unique opportunity to make a real difference and take immediate action to protect Texans. by leading efforts to prevent, mitigate, respond to and deal with incidents of mass violence,” the request reads.
Texas State Forensic Science Academy
With $7.6 million in funding, the university hopes to open a Forensic Science Academy to improve the management and investigation of death scenes in Texas.
Wintemute said the funding will help train 500 Texas officials — about half of Texas’ total justice magistrates — a year on proper protocols for victim identification and the chain of custody at the crime scene. Approximately $700,000 of funding for the fiscal year will go towards the salaries of 11 employees.
“Deaths of medical significance are occurring in every county in Texas,” the request said. “Unfortunately, due to the increase in border deaths and mass shootings in small towns, these deaths are occurring in smaller jurisdictions where local law enforcement and magistrates do not have the necessary training to manage death sites or to properly identify, collect and preserve keys. . proof.”
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The center plans to offer a nine-week course three times a year for people in Texas agencies who investigate deaths and a one-day course twice a month for magistrates and law enforcement officers who investigate deaths.
The training will include modules on crime scene inspection; court photograph; collection of latent fingerprints; forensic mapping; blood stain and spatter patterns; shooting documentation; forensic anthropology and dentistry; forensic pathology; and an arson investigation.
“Funding of the Texas Academy of Forensic Science will provide the critical training needed to successfully manage and investigate death scenes in all counties in Texas,” the request reads. “Without funding to support the development of the TxSFSA, there will be no place in the state of Texas to provide high-quality, evidence-based training for Texas law enforcement and magistrates.”
Student Success Center
The State of Texas is requesting $5.8 million to create a Student Success Center to provide student support programs and promote research on college completion and post-college success.
According to the request, the university is seeing an increase in low-income, first-generation and underrepresented student enrollment, and data from the center will help the school improve student college readiness, enrollment, perseverance, degree completion, and success. Existence.
“(The Center) will significantly benefit our society by increasing the proportion of low-income and underrepresented Texans with degrees to improve their job prospects and enhance their overall quality of life,” the request says.
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If funded, $1.45 million will go towards the salaries of 17 employees, and $1.45 million will go toward funding IT costs, ongoing maintenance, and administrative expenses to implement and maintain the student analytics platform every year for two years.
“Without funding to support development (the center) and related data analytics, the State of Texas will be limited in its ability to develop high-tech, integrated efforts to meet student needs, best serve students, provide support for academic recovery, reduce dropout rates, and improve overall student success. “, the request says.
Austin Community College
Austin Community College also has some special subject requests:
- Texas Virtual College – $833,910
- Texas Innovative Adult Education Grant – $8.67 million