How to Fund School Safety Upgrades | #schoolsaftey

Most states will have some level of funding available for schools, and state agency websites are a great resource for finding lists of available physical security grants.

When applying for state grants, it’s important for schools to look at the requirements. In addition to conducting audits, many states have specific parameters for how schools can use the money for safety technologies.

For example, they may divide the technology into two tiers and require that schools meet all the requirements of the first tier before they can use grant money for technology in the second. This could look like schools having to invest in cameras and access control technologies before spending grant money on other safety tech, such as radios on buses.

These restrictions can help schools standardize on solutions across the district to ensure seamless connections and interoperability, which can lead to lifesaving efficiencies in an emergency.

Capitalize on Recurring and One-Time Federal Funds for School Safety

There are a few notable recurring school safety grants at the federal level, in addition to one-time funding opportunities that schools can take advantage of.

The most general recurring federal fund is the School Violence Prevention Program, which allocates about $70 million per year to K–12 schools for safety upgrades and technology. The application process has two steps, each with its own deadline. For 2024, the first deadline is June 11 and the second is June 17.

The other recurring grants are the STOP School Violence Program, which primarily applies to training staff and students on safety measures, and the Nonprofit Security Grant Program, which private schools can apply for.

Schools should also be vigilant in taking advantage of one-time funding for physical security. Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funds, the last of which must be allocated by this September, can be used for physical safety upgrades including cameras, sensors and access control systems.

LEARN MORE: Explore six creative avenues for spending ESSER funds before they expire.

The Stronger Connections Grant Program is one-time federal funding that states will distribute to K–12 institutions. This means that some states have already doled out the funding, while other institutions can expect to see this money in their future.

Schools should consider the best ways to use physical security funding for building upgrades, whether they abide by certain tiers that their states have laid out or through the result of a physical security assessment. CDW’s physical security team can help schools figure out where to start in making a long-term plan for upgrading surveillance, access control, mass notification, mental health and other safety technologies in the district.

This article is part of the ConnectIT: Bridging the Gap Between Education and Technology series. Please join the discussion on Twitter by using the #ConnectIT hashtag.

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