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

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.

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

Photo: STOATPHOTO, Adobe Stock

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invest $76.3 million in video surveillance over the next three years, adding cameras and updating systems that have outdated equipment.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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About the Author

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Amy is Campus Safety’s Executive Editor. Prior to joining the editorial team in 2017, she worked in both events and digital marketing.

Amy has many close relatives and friends who are teachers, motivating her to learn and share as much as she can about campus security. She has a minor in education and has worked with children in several capacities, further deepening her passion for keeping students safe.

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3 responses to “School Safety Grants: What Is Available and How Do I Apply?”

  1. Campus Safety
    Hello Campus Safety, 4/14/2022

    Story Idea for your Readers, which would likely draw the positive attention of the readers
    If you are ever at a school where a parent calls the school and says “John” did not get off the bus, where is he? The school staff goes into full “red alert” They track back to the manual log sheets, the last known location of the student, and with no luck, the police and sheriff departments are called, the parent is in full panic mode, and it’s a mess. I have seen helicopters deployed to do searches to find “John.” In that case and 40 minutes later, John is found playing football with friends in a playground near the school. Geez… It’s 40 minutes of “hell” for the parent, school staff, and responders.

    There is a better way to keep students safe and accounted for. This system could be an article for you on the Car Rider Application.
    The program does more; it streamlines parent pick-up accountability; ever since COVID started, more parents have driven and picked up their children. Or to avoid the social pick-on issues students face (bullying or “bad mouthing” a student on buses) on the bus rides home.

    Do you ever notice in the movies where the parent’s child is “kidnapped” from school? It’s usually at always around dismal time. The Kidnapper approaches “John” and tells Johny that mom couldn’t pick him up today and I’m (Kidnapper) to help take him home as a ruse. Then the next scene is the FBI investigating what parents of a lost child think when their child is missing even for 40 minutes. Terrifying.

    You can contact Bart Baker at 405-503-3207 from Safe School ID.

    The program is called car rider, by Safe School ID,405-5033-3207.

  2. Chaz Wilde says:

    One important thing to note is there have been ALOT of technology updates. It’s important for schools that want to revamp completely, to avoid a proprietary cloud solution I would protect your investment and go with AvigilonAlta. Also, this grant applies to concealed weapons detectors so I would look at the Evlov units. The CWD solution allows for a faster flow of traffic when compared to traditional metal detectors. I know Avigilon will actually write the grants for schools, they have a really good success rate I’ve heard.

  3. Bob Brown says:

    The best idea (in my opinion), since school districts already issue every student an ID card, that we implement an ID card reader at every door (bathrooms included) that students be tracked on the campus and on the school buses so at any given moment, if a parent calls looking for their child, a computer program can tell administration and Security, exactly where the student was last documented entering. I can’t tell you how many hours I’ve racked up searching our campus or neighboring areas looking for kids who were simply not where they were supposed to be.

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