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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- A bipartisan North Carolina public school safety bill has cleared its first legislative hurdle with plenty of room to spare.

The House Education Committee unanimously approved Tuesday the measure that would set aside $30 million over two years for matching grants so local school districts can hire more school police officers, counselors and psychologists.

Another $4 million in grants would assist districts in installing panic alarm systems in schools.

The measure requires more routine crisis planning exercises and directs local school boards and superintendents to review school safety plans. Local police and sheriffs also could authorize volunteers with law enforcement training to serve as school officers.

The bill now heads to the chamber's budget-writing committee.

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