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School Safety Grants: What Is Available and How Do I Apply? | #schoolsaftey


State leaders are pushing for legislation that would increase school security funding and several federal grant programs have recently opened application periods. Don’t miss out.

As school safety continues to be at the forefront of discussions not just within the industry but throughout the country, various entities are making more funding available and approving security-focused budgets.

In February, Connecticut announced $15 million in school safety and security funding. The grants can be used for security infrastructure improvements or security improvements “that include the capability of transmitting communications directly to law enforcement,” according to a press release.

Also in February, Ohio announced $68 million in additional grants for security upgrades that are funded through House Bill 45, which Governor Mike DeWine signed into law in January. One school says it plans to use some of the funds for installing bulletproof glass, updating locks, and improving communication between school resource officers and law enforcement.

Ohio’s latest offering is part of its fourth round of funding. In its third round, not every school/district that applied received funding. Adding the fourth round, said Governor DeWine, “means that every qualifying school that applied for funding but did not get it will now receive a grant for the upgrades needed to make their schools safer.” Although the funding has already been allocated, the state’s continued dedication to ensuring all schools receive some amount of funding suggests more states will follow suit.

More recently, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) announced in February it would invest $76.3 million in video surveillance over the next three years, adding cameras and updating systems that have outdated equipment. In March, New York Governor Kathy Hochul announced the approval of $31.4 million for school technology and security enhancements. The plans approved by New York’s Smart Schools Review Board include $16.6 million for high-tech security.

Other states are pushing for legislation that would require schools to implement new technology solutions or safety programs. For example, after the tragedy at the Covenant School in Nashville, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee proposed legislation that would place an armed security officer at every public school, make physical improvements, and provide additional mental health resources. Proposed funding for these changes totals around $205 million.

After two students and an adult were killed in a January school shooting in Iowa, the Des Moines School Board unanimously approved doubling K-12 campus security spending to $13 million. The board’s proposed budget includes $5.85 million for metal detectors, safety equipment, and patrol vehicles. THe board also wants to more than triple the district’s cybersecurity budget.

What Federal School Safety Grants Are Available?

While recent state funding largely seems to apply to physical security improvements, there are also millions and millions of dollars in federal funding available to support student well-being initiatives as well. Several federal grant programs on a range of school safety topics, including student mental health and targeted violence prevention, have recently opened application periods. The list is always changing with additional funding being added regularly.

Federal funding is currently being offered by various government-led departments, including:

The programs offered by these departments cover the gamut of school security/safety issues. Some examples of programs that are currently offering funds include:

  • Strategies to Support Children Exposed to Violence
  • Targeted Violence and Terrorism Prevention Grant Program
  • Project AWARE (Advancing Wellness and Resiliency in Education)
  • COPS Hiring Program
  • Cooperative Agreements for School-Based Trauma-Informed Support Services and Mental Health Care for Children and Youth
  • Community-Based Violence Intervention and Prevention Initiative
  • School Climate Transformation Grant Program

All of these available grant programs were seamlessly pulled from SchoolSafety.gov’s grant finder tool. Using this tool, school safety professionals can narrow down available grants using these different filters: Topic (i.e. bullying and cyberbullying, targeted violence, threat assessment and reporting); Award Amount; Application Level of Effort; Grant Type; Audience; Application Deadline; Action (Prevent, Protect and Mitigate, or Respond and Recover); and Funding Agency. Each available grant offers additional information on its requirements and how to apply.

With Campus Safety readers saying they are now, more than ever, considering investing in and/or upgrading security systems such as access control, video surveillance, and emergency notification, it’s safe to say that funding will continue to increase, and schools will subsequently need to decide how best to spend that money to protect their students, staff, and community at large. Whether your school/district is or will soon be required to hire a school resource officer, upgrade video surveillance equipment, or improve threat assessment capabilities (just as a few examples), grant funding can help.

For improvements that are underway or soon will be, vendors will need to be chosen and training will need to be implemented to ensure end users are utilizing the solutions to the best of their ability and getting the most out of them. The upcoming Campus Safety Conferences offer further education on lessons learned and leading practices from experts or other district leaders who have already implemented similar projects or initiatives. Security vendors will also be on hand to demonstrate their latest products and technology if your campus is considering an upgrade or new installation.

Grant Writing Resources

Also, we know grant writing can be tedious and not all campuses have the funds to hire a dedicated professional. Grants.gov offers grant writing basics, including tips for proofreading your next grant application, how to build credibility with your budget narrative, and ways to best articulate the impact a grant would have on your school or district.

For more specific advice on how schools or college campuses can make technology grant proposals stand out from the rest, at the 2019 Campus Safety conference, we interviewed Ashley Schultz, a grant development consultant from Grants Office, LLC. Watch the interview below.



Additionally, here are some other helpful tips/resources from experts and practitioners on selecting the right security technology solutions and integrators for your school or district’s next project.

Integrator Resources

Security Technology Resources

Campus Safety also regularly hosts expert-led webinars on the topics discussed throughout this article. You can check out upcoming events here and watch archived events as well. They are always free to attend.

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