COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- Ohio schools would see additional grant money made available for security upgrades and face penalties for failing to submit safety plans under a package of school safety initiatives proposed by Gov. John Kasich.
The grants and sanctions were part of a package detailed Wednesday, elements of which have been tucked into a fast-moving midterm budget bill. Ohio's current law imposes no penalties for failing to file a required safety plan.
State Superintendent Richard Ross said 3,000 schools took advantage of $12 million made available last summer for entryway security and communications.
"There's so much interest in that, we went through that very, very quickly," Ross said.
New grants, if approved, would be available through the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission for security upgrades at both public and private schools. Of the total, $10 million would go to public schools and $7 million would go to private ones.
Kasich's plan also takes several steps that the administration says are aimed at strengthening Ohio's system of school safety plans. Ohio law requires all schools to have plans on file with the attorney general for handling emergencies, such as a school shooter or terrorist attack.
According to figures from Attorney General Mike DeWine's office, 84 of 4,438 schools required to file such plans are noncompliant, 43 have outdated plans and the plans of 41 schools are missing.
DeWine said Kasich's proposals are a helpful next step in Ohio's school safety efforts, following many of the recommendation of a task force he appointed.
"I keep reminding people of this: Your child's in school for maybe seven hours a day -- that's probably the safest that child's going to be -- because going to and from school is where you can have an auto accident, you can have problems," he said. "Still, it's important that we prepare for catastrophe, when there's an active shooter in school. We've experienced that in Ohio, we know how horrible that can be."
The governor's plan would provide free safety-plan consultation and training to districts through an existing $1.9 million federal emergency management grant. The state's emergency management office and the University of Findlay would work together on the training.
Public Safety Director John Born said the state also is offering technical assistance to districts through its Center for P-20 Safety and Security and the school safety expert on staff at the Department of Homeland Security.
An existing state hotline will also be equipped and publicized to accept tips on potential suicides, school shootings and bullying.
Kasich will push legislation imposing penalties up to revocation of a superintendent's license for failing to file a required safety plan. The bill would also require that safety plans be filed by joint vocational schools, STEM schools or schools receiving students using certain state scholarships.
P-20 Center executive director Rick Amweg said recommended formats for the plans are being developed. He said the administration's legislation, if adopted, "will ensure that practically every student in the state of Ohio will be going to a school with a safety plan in place."