HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — The budget proposal unveiled Wednesday by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy does not set aside new funds specifically earmarked to boost school security measures or mental health programs in light of the deadly school shooting in Newtown.
Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton said he believes a special account must be created because school districts cannot afford to foot the bill for major security upgrades. For instance, it will cost his city $275,000 to hire a consultant to study security needs for its school district.
Last month, lawmakers approved legislation that allows cities and towns to use money from a state grant for local capital improvements on school safety.
‘‘The reality is, the actual fixed costs that we’re going to need, for window replacement, for potentially building vestibules, whatever recommendations are out there that we want to enact that the consultant says we have to, $1.2 million goes nowhere, especially when you use that money for sidewalks and other hard capital costs within your community,’’ Boughton said. ‘‘We need a separate fund just for school security.’’
Task forces created by Malloy and the General Assembly are currently reviewing laws and policies affecting mental health, school security and guns. Lawmakers hope to vote on a package later this month.
Malloy’s chief of staff, Mark Ojakian, said more money can be added to the grant for local capital improvements to help pay for school security measures. Also, while there is additional money in the governor’s budget proposal for mental health, that funding can also be increased as lawmakers and the governor negotiate a final compromise on a new, two-year budget and the task forces make their recommendations.
‘‘When that all comes together, we’re going to have an opportunity to finalize the issues ... around Newtown,’’ Ojakian said, adding that Malloy’s budget is ‘‘a framework for discussion as we move forward.’’