HARRISBURG – School districts can now receive additional financial support from the state as they work to improve their safety efforts, according to state Sen. Lisa Baker (R-20), who led two hearings on school safety and emergency planning in the past year.
The Pennsylvania Department of Education kicked off the application period for newly unveiled school safety grants on October 22. The application window for school resource officer grants closes on November 22, and for general school safety grants, on December 6.
“School districts that hope to hire school resource officers and school police officers as an additional layer of security and to make other upgrades to their buildings and emergency plans are strongly encouraged to apply,” Baker said.
The school safety grants were authorized through the passage of Act 70, which provided $8.5 million in this year’s budget for school safety measures designed to curb school violence and enhance student safety.
The maximum individual grant will be $60,000 for a school resource officer and $40,000 for a school police officer. Schools and municipalities that use officers with additional specialized training in children and adolescents will be given priority.
Other competitive grants are also available for a wide range of safe school initiatives, with a minimum individual grant of $25,000. This money can be used for security technology upgrades, visitor identification systems and other safety measures.
“No educational expense is more critical than those dedicated to protecting the health, safety and welfare of our children,” Baker said. “The Senate’s school safety hearings highlighted many strategies that work, and with these grants, we hope to enable school districts to replicate many of these outstanding safety efforts, which include school resource officers, an involved community, and a highly trained and aware faculty and administration.”
All 500 school districts are eligible to apply. Grant applications and full guidelines can be found online at the Pennsylvania Department of Education website: http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/office_of_elementary_secondary_education/7209/p/1630278
Local municipalities are also able to apply for grants for school resource officers on behalf of the public and private schools within their boundaries.