Jul. 18—Creston Community School District Superintendent Deron Stender informed the school board Monday of a state grant totaling $200,000 being awarded to the district.
The grant is a part of Gov. Kim Reynolds’ School Safety Initiative. Announced on June 14, 2022, the plan includes $100 million in school safety funding to support Iowa’s 327 public school districts and 183 nonpublic and independent schools.
A vast majority of the funds, $75 million, will go toward the School Safety Improvement Fund. The fund allocates $50,000 per building to implement recommended safety measure capital improvements.
The district applied for a federal grant and state security grant.
“I did receive word last week that our state grant has been approved. What that means is the buildings are eligible for $50,000 toward eligible expenditures,” Stender told the board. “They consider the elementary and middle school two separate buildings even though they are in one.”
With money allocated to the Early Childhood Center, elementary, middle and high schools, the district will have $200,000 in funds available.
“What we wrote in our grant as a primary focus is for us to work on hardening our perimeter and access points to our buildings,” Stender explained. “Part of our discussion is about restructuring our entrances in all of our buildings to allow us to minimize the amount of points that people have access to.”
While the exact usage of funds won’t be determined until after the board’s Aug. 14 work session, Stender suggested glazed glass window coverings.
“Our focus is keeping people out and our secondary efforts are working on, if people get in, what are the best measures of safety and security we can implement,” Stender said. “We will start the process after we meet in the working session to determine what direction we want to go.”
In both this and last March, the school has been subject to false alarms of school shooters. The first incident was an alarm malfunction while the second was due to a state-wide swatting incident.
Though the school was safe and procedures were followed in both incidents, the situations have given the school and community a view of what could be should safety and security not be prioritized.
“Every family should be able to confidently send their children to school knowing they’ll be safe,” Reynolds said when announcing the funds. “These investments will make a tremendous impact on our ability to prevent violence in schools while also taking steps to ensure schools and communities are in the best position possible to respond to an active event.”
As a member of the American Association of School Administrators, Stender visited Washington D.C. last week to meet with representatives.
“We met with all six of our representatives. We met with four in person and two of them had their aids. It was a great opportunity. We really focused on security,” Stender said. “I said, ‘It’s easier for you to get into our schools than it is for me to get to visit you. And we deal with children — hundreds of children.'”