Indiana Awards $19 Million in School Safety Grants
Funding went to several areas of school safety including SROs, technology, mental health support and active event warning systems.
Indiana schools were awarded $19 million in safety grants — but while funding for some districts doubled, others saw their money cut in half.
On top of that, there was a $4.8 million shortfall in funding between what schools were expecting and what lawmakers provided, reports JG Local.
“Indiana remains fully committed to ensuring the safety of Hoosier schools,” said Governor Eric Holcomb. “I’m proud this critical grant program can meet the top safety needs of school districts across the state. This is the latest evolution of how our state partners with local schools to address this issue and help parents, students and staff feel safe and secure each day.”
Some officials questioned if the funding was being distributed equally, noting some districts’ funding dropped from $50,000 last year to $25,000 this year.
“I don’t think it was intentional, but the effect and impact were arbitrary,” said Jay County School Superintendant of a new prioritization system imposed on the grants. “Districts never contemplated losing money.”
Other schools, however, saw an increase — like Northwest Allen County — of $50,000. Garrett-Keyser Butler schools also jumped from $15,000 to $72,500.
Besides increasing the funding from last year’s $15 million to this year’s $19 million, legislators also expanded what the money could be spent on — from three categories to six.
Also, the board funded all eligible projects that focused on mental health and wellness support services for parents and students.
Overall, roughly $12.1 million went toward school resource officers; $5.5 million to equipment and technology; $1 million to create student and parents support plans; $144,000 to threat assessments; $90,000 to active event warning systems and $3,300 to training.
“Each school’s needs are unique so we asked them to prioritize,” said David Hosick, spokesman for the Indiana Department of Homeland Security. “Everybody gets something. Every school receives an award. We are trying to be equitable.”