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Local schools receive safety grants from state | #schoolsaftey

Mike Wolanin | The Republic An exterior view of the Bartholomew Consolidated School Corporation administration building in Columbus, Ind., Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022.

State officials have awarded a little more than $200,000 in security grants to schools in Bartholomew County.

Gov. Eric Holcomb announced the allocation of $29.8 million in Secured School Safety Grants (SSSG), with 474 schools receiving funds for 605 projects.

Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp. was awarded $100,000, the Flat Rock-Hawcreek School Corp. was awarded $70,000, and St. Peter’s Lutheran School was awarded $50,000.

BCSC and Flat Rock-Hawcreek said that the money will go towards funding for School Resource Officers. Paul Meredith, principal of St. Peter’s Lutheran, said that the funds are earmarked to purchase “bullet-resistant film” to wrap around windows and glass doors on ground-level floors.

“These school safety grants represent another example of historic investments in public safety,” Holcomb said in an official statement. “I am pleased we are able to financially support every school that identified safety as a top priority.”

The SSSG program requires a match from recipients. According to the Indiana Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the percentage of match varies based on enrollment and the amount requested.

BCSC and Flat Rock-Hawcreek both have to provide a 100% match, school officials said. The DHS guidelines indicate that St. Peter’s — which had a population of a little over 400 last school year, according to the Indiana Department of Education— will likely need to provide a 50% match.

Earlier this year, the Indiana General Assembly approved Holcomb’s proposal to increase SSSG funding to $25 million annually, according to the governor’s office. Due to additional funding from the DHS budget, the Indiana Secured School Safety Board voted to approve all application requests for fiscal year 2024 and awarded a total of $29,824,803.67 in grants.

Additionally, the legislative assembly passed HEA 1492, which expands the list of possible uses for these matching grants and the list of required materials for matching grant applications. The new law also includes updated requirements in regards to school safety.

“Since the inception of the Secured Schools Safety Grant program, we have listened to schools across the state about what they see as their greatest needs in the way of safety,” said IDHS Executive Director Joel Thacker. “As a result, this year we can offer more eligible funding categories than ever before, leading to safer schools and an overall better learning environment. “

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