Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs signs executive orders focusing on school building safety

Jun 30, 2023, 2:00 PM | Updated: 2:20 pm

Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs signs budget...

(Arizona Governor's Office Photo)

(Arizona Governor's Office Photo)

PHOENIX — The state is making school safety a priority.

Gov. Katie Hobbs signed a pair of executive orders Thursday that will focus on better securing buildings and updating guidelines throughout the state.

Improving School Facilities Inspections

The first of the two executive orders will reinstitute the inspection of education facilities throughout the state.

According to Executive Order 2023-14, prior to budget cuts following the Great Recession, the state conducted regular inspections of school facilities.  The purpose of said inspections found that recommendations to districts that fell below minimum guidelines, if addressed in a reasonable amount of time, could prevent the development of serious problems.

The order also indicates the move is in response to pending litigation against the state.

Establishing a Stakeholder Council to Update the Minimum Adequacy Guidelines for School Facilities

The second order creates the advisory council that will consult with exports in updating the guidelines for districts throughout the state.

The new council will address issues raised by the 2019 committee.  Those issues include questions on technology, square footage, safety and security in school facilities.

The committee will consist of representatives from large and small districts, urban and rural districts, educators from urban and rural districts, a school architect, and others.

“A child’s ability to attend a safe and secure school should not depend on their zip code,” said Hobbs. “As I have traveled across the state, I have heard from parents and educators about the effects outdated buildings and poorly kept facilities have on a students’ quality of education. We have a responsibility to foster productive learning environments for our children, and these actions will help ensure every Arizona student has equal access to adequate facilities.”

According to the Gun Violence Archive, there have been five school shootings in Arizona in 2023 — two in Phoenix, one in Mesa, one in Yuma, and one in Tucson — resulting in seven deaths.

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Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs signs executive orders focusing on school building safety