Bill would set aside funds to improve security at New Mexico schools

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SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – One lawmaker saw tragedy in his own backyard when the shooting at Aztec High School unfolded in December. Now he’s got a plan to improve school security across the state.

Rep. Paul Bandy (R-Aztec) wants to take school capital outlay money to step up security at campuses. His proposal, House Bill 130, would set aside $5 million each year from 2019 to 2023 for schools to use on their security systems.

Whether that’s cameras, fences, automatic door locks or other means, Bandy says it will be a case by case basis.

Districts and schools would apply for the money grant-style. Bandy says it could be a big task for some older schools, but well worth it to keep students safe.

“I think it’s going to take quite a bit of retrofitting so that events like that happened in Aztec in December, you can limit the amount of people who are hurt,” Rep. Bandy said.

The topic of school security is a big one this session given the recent events in Aztec, that left two students dead. 

Sen. George Munoz of Gallup is backing a similar measure that pulls $40 million over four years form school capital outlay to fund security upgrades.

Sen. Munoz also has a measure to fund security improvements with money from the general fund.

Rep. Bandy says he and Sen. Munoz may have to get together at some point and consider merging their two bills.

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