Jun. 28, 2019

HARRISBURG — The House today approved Public School Code legislation encompassing parts of two proposals Rep. Jason Ortitay (R-Washington/Allegheny) has pushed this legislative session to increase school safety.

“After working for the last two years on school safety proposals, I am happy to see large portions of my original proposals in this school safety omnibus bill,” Ortitay said. “These proposals will make our schools safer and provide a proactive approach to helping our children. As a member of the School Safety and Security Committee, I know how important this issue is and will continue to find and develop legislation to make our schools safer.”

Included in Senate Bill 144 is a portion of Ortitay’s House Bill 1423. It would require each public school district to create at least one multi-disciplinary threat assessment team to identify students in distress before their behavior escalates to a level that raises concerns about safety. These teams would build on the Safe2Say Something Program that was created under Act 44 of 2018. That law developed an anonymous tip line that allows students, teachers and community residents to report any unsafe, potentially harmful, dangerous, violent or criminal activities in schools.

The code bill also includes a modified version of Ortitay’s House Bill 1631 to change the way funds allocated under the $60 million school safety and security block grant program are disbursed. Under the new code, each school entity that submits an application to the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency would now receive a base grant between $30,000 and $45,000 depending on its average daily attendance. Previously the grant was $25,000 for every entity.

"My efforts with this year’s school safety money was to make it a fairer process for all of the schools,” Ortitay added. “While I did not get all of the changes I wanted, I do feel we have made steps in that direction."

Senate Bill 144 now heads to the governor’s desk for review.

The 46th Legislative District includes Collier and South Fayette townships and Bridgeville, Heidelberg, McDonald and Oakdale boroughs in Allegheny County. It also encompasses Canton, Cecil, Mt. Pleasant, Robinson and Smith townships and Burgettstown, McDonald and Midway boroughs in Washington County.

Representative Jason Ortitay
46th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Tracy Polovick
RepOrtitay.com / Facebook.com/RepOrtitay