Baker asks surplus funds be directed to securing schools

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BOSTON (AP) — Gov. Charlie Baker's administration is asking lawmakers to direct a portion of the state's budget surplus toward making public schools safer.

The Republican governor on Friday outlined $72 million in proposed security upgrades, $40 million of which would help school districts hire more social workers and mental health professionals.

An additional $20 million would go toward what Baker calls a "hardening" of school facilities, including grants for enhanced alarm systems or single-point entry systems.

The governor says discussions about enhancing school safety intensified after 17 people were killed at a high school in Parkland, Florida, in February.

The administration expects about a $1 billion revenue surplus for the fiscal year that ended June 30. About half of the money will be deposited into the state's so-called "rainy day fund."

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