Governor Kathy Hochul signed the “Safe Schools by Design Act” that will require all school districts’ five-year capital facilities plans to consider incorporating design principles that will provide a safe, secure, and healthy school environment. The legislation also expands eligible expenses for Extended Day and School Violence Prevention Grants to include programs that facilitate and promote community involvement in school facility planning.
“A safe school environment is an essential component to providing the best education for our students,” Governor Hochul said. “This legislation highlights our commitment to our students and educators by ensuring that health and safety are considered at the outset of all school construction projects.”
Current law requires that five-year capital facilities plans are developed by each school district to include a building inventory, estimated expenses for building construction, repairs, or renovation, and estimated expenses for building maintenance and energy consumption.
Legislation S.2629A/A.286A amends the education law by requiring that school districts consider the incorporation of design principles and strategies, pursuant to guidance issued by the Commissioner of Education, in their five-year capital plan as part of a comprehensive approach to providing a healthy, secure, and safe school environment. In addition, the legislation includes programs which facilitate and promote community involvement in school facility planning to be eligible expenses for Extended Day and School Violence Prevention Grants.
State Senator Rachel May said, “New York’s schools must provide students and staff with safe, secure environments. We also know that students thrive in well-designed environments that encourage them to explore and learn rather than feeling confined. Smart design principles can achieve both goals, ensuring students are in safe, comfortable, and nourishing environments. The Safe Schools by Design Act addresses all these points by asking school districts to consider modern safety and security features while planning school design. Thank you to Assembly Member Paulin for her steadfast partnership on this bill and to Governor Hochul for signing it into law.”
Assemblymember Amy Paulin said, “There are ways to create safe school facilities for kids without putting bars on windows and metal detectors at entrances. The Safe Schools by Design Act takes a different approach to safety by focusing on the design of a building, which has long lasting and positive impacts on school safety. I thank Governor Hochul for taking this step which helps school districts make informed design decisions to create both safe and welcoming learning environments.”