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States Respond to School Violence with New Grant Funding

By Ashley Schultz


In the wake of recent high profile school shootings across the US, Congress passed the Students, Teachers, and Officers Preventing (STOP) School Violence Act in June 2018. The bill included key provisions to improve school safety initiatives, providing students and teachers with the tools they need to recognize mental health crises, respond to violent attacks, mitigate risk exposure, and prevent future acts of violence.


The $75 million in funding allocated to the STOP School Violence Act in 2018 is dedicated to three brand new grant programs. These programs target a series of initiatives, including support for –

·         Specialized training for school officials on how to prevent student violence and respond to mental health crises

·         School threat assessment and crisis intervention teams.

·         Anonymous reporting systems through apps, hotlines, or websites.

·         Equipment, training, and staff time to improve school safety and increase coordination with law enforcement.

Federal allocations for these initiatives is anticipated to increase to $100 million total for each year through 2028. It remains to be seen if the Department of Justice and its administering agencies will choose to dedicate that funding to the same three programs again in 2019 – or if they’ll instead create entirely new grants with comparable focus areas.


State Grants related to the STOP School Violence Act


It’s important to note that recent federal investments in school safety did not occur within a vacuum. A small handful of states have supported campus improvements through targeted grant funding for years. Others created brand new grant programs in 2018 – spurred, in large part, by the February 2018 school shooting at Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and the March for Our Lives rally on Washington a few months later.


The two lists below capture a sample of grant funding available at the state level. As public demand for school safety increases, we expect to see even more states follow suit in the upcoming years -


Existing State Funding Opportunities:


·         Arizona - The AZ Department of Education’s School Safety Program supports the placement of School Resource Officers and Juvenile Probation Officers on school grounds. Applications are due in April, annually.

·         Colorado - The CO Department of Education’s Building Excellent Schools Today (BEST) Program provides capital funding for security/safety projects, in addition to major school renovations and new construction. Letters of Intent are due in December, annually.

·         Florida - The FL Department of Education’s Safe Schools Grant supports school safety measures, drug prevention programs, and positive school climates that promote caring relationships. This is an annual allocation.

·         Idaho - The ID State Department of Education’s Safe and Drug-Free Schools Program provides technical assistance and financial support on bullying, violence, and drug prevention. Applications are accepted year-round.

·         Indiana - The IN Department of Homeland Security’s Secured School Safety Grant Program supports (1) the placement of School Resource Officers; (2) activities for threat assessment; and (3) the purchase of tech to restrict access and expedite notification to first responders. Applications are due in April, annually.

·         Massachusetts - The MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s Safe and Supportive Schools Grant funds self-assessment, action planning, and implementation to create safe, positive, healthy and inclusive  learning environments. Applications are due in October, annually.

·         Michigan - The MI State Police’s School Safety Grant supports the purchase of equipment to improve the security of school buildings, including metal detectors, communication systems, shatterproof glass, screening systems, and technology for law enforcement coordination. Applications are due in September, annually.

·         Minnesota – The MN Department of Education’s School Safety Grant supports exterior entry security, communication systems, and other school facility safety projects. This includes renovating and expanding existing buildings. Proposals are accepted on a first-come, first serve basis starting in August.  

·         New Hampshire - The NH Department of Education’s Public School Infrastructure Fund provides funding to improve security in schools, in addition to e-Rate matching on other K-12 projects. Applications are accepted year-round.

·         New Jersey - The NJ Department of Education’s Nonpublic School Security Program supports the purchase of security services and equipment to ensure a safe and secure environment for K-12 students. Funding is based on the number of full-time pupils enrolled in the school. Applications are due in October, annually.

·         New York - The NY Department of Education’s Safety Equipment Funding for Nonpublic Schools supports equipment purchases related to lighting, doors, and access control systems. Applications are due in Spring, annually.

·         Pennsylvania - The PA Department of Education’s Safe Schools Grant supports the placement of School Resource Officers, the placement of School Police Officers, and the purchase of equipment - including metal detectors, video surveillance, and emergency communications. Applications are due in July, annually.

·         Virginia - The VA Department of Education’s School Security Equipment Program supports the purchase of school safety technology, including intercom systems, video surveillance, electronic access control systems, and mass notification via mobile apps or telephone. Applications are due in August, annually.

·         Wisconsin - The WI Department of Justice recently funded a School Safety Initiative that supports two categories of preparedness: (1) Basic projects to achieve an established baseline of security; and (2) Advanced projects to improve school safety beyond minimum standards. Applications were due in July. Additional rounds of funding will be dependent on state Congressional funding allocations.


State Funding Opportunities on the Horizon:


·         Georgia - The State earmarked $16 million for school safety improvements in 2018 to share among its 181 districts. This is anticipated to include provisions for metal detectors, security cameras, new locks, new doors and other building improvements.

·         Florida - The State approved $98 million for school safety funding as part of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act. This is anticipated to include provisions for various school hardening measures such as metal detectors, bulletproof glass, steel doors, and upgraded locks.

·         Maryland - The State passed a $51 million school safety bill to create statewide standards for school safety and require each district to develop self-assessment teams. This is anticipated to include funding for School Resource Officers (SRO), counselors, reinforced doors & windows, panic buttons, security cameras, and metal detectors.

·         New Jersey - The State proposed a $500 million bond to improve school safety. This is anticipated to include funding for cameras and doors. Funds must first be approved by the state Assembly and NJ Governor Phil Murphy. If these measures pass, the program will then put on the ballot for voters in November 2018.

·         North Carolina – The State set aside $35 million for school safety grants for the 2018-19 budget. This is anticipated to include support for additional mental health personnel, additional School Resource Officers (SRO), and school safety equipment. Additional rounds of funding will be dependent on state Congressional funding allocations.


With the variety of funding sources at both the state and federal level, there are plenty of opportu­nities your agency can leverage to purchase, implement, and maintain a school safety initiative. Don’t see your State on this list? Check out the Department of Education or Department of Justice website frequently for updates on other possible program offerings. You may even consider contacting your State Administering Agency (SAA) for information on school safety funding coming down the pike in your area.


For a quick refresher on the STOP School Violence Act, re-read our summary of the Bill in the May issue of FUNDED at: http://grantsoffice.com/Portals/0/funded/issues/FUNDEDMay2018.pdf


Many state school safety grants are tech-friendly, with eligible expenses for fixed surveillance, electronic access control, metal detectors, emergency alerts, and other communication systems.


Check the grant guidance for information regarding allowable soft costs for your school safety project, including installation, storage, prepaid warranties, maintenance agreements, and consultant expenses.

·         Arizona - http://grantsoffice.com/GrantDetails.aspx?gid=23368

·         Colorado - http://grantsoffice.com/GrantDetails.aspx?gid=54405

·         Florida - http://grantsoffice.com/GrantDetails.aspx?gid=39873

·         Idaho - http://grantsoffice.com/GrantDetails.aspx?gid=54878

·         Indiana - http://grantsoffice.com/GrantDetails.aspx?gid=35728

·         Massachusetts - http://grantsoffice.com/GrantDetails.aspx?gid=54882

·         Michigan -http://grantsoffice.com/GrantDetails.aspx?gid=37918

·         Minnesota - http://grantsoffice.com/GrantDetails.aspx?gid=54922

·         New Hampshire - http://grantsoffice.com/GrantDetails.aspx?gid=53978

·         New Jersey - http://grantsoffice.com/GrantDetails.aspx?gid=54880

·         New York - http://grantsoffice.com/GrantDetails.aspx?gid=37685

·         Pennsylvania - http://grantsoffice.com/GrantDetails.aspx?gid=22775

·         Virginia - http://grantsoffice.com/GrantDetails.aspx?gid=36874

·         Wisconsin - http://grantsoffice.com/GrantDetails.aspx?gid=54883


·         Georgia - http://grantsoffice.com/GrantDetails.aspx?gid=54879

·         Florida - http://grantsoffice.com/GrantDetails.aspx?gid=54341

·         Maryland - http://grantsoffice.com/GrantDetails.aspx?gid=54885

·         New Jersey - http://grantsoffice.com/GrantDetails.aspx?gid=54881