(Posted Feb. 2, 2023)
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced on Feb. 2 that 945 additional schools will receive state funding support for physical safety and security upgrades as part of the fourth round of Ohio’s K-12 School Safety Grant Program. A fifth round will be announced in coming weeks.
Canaan Middle School in the Jonathan Alder School District is receiving $90,000 in this round. The district’s other four buildings–the high school, junior high, Monroe Elementary, and Plain City Elementary–received $370,000 in the program’s third round. That makes for a total of $460,000 the district has received via the grant program.
“One philosophy about effective teaching and learning is that the safer one feels in our welcoming buildings, the more opportunity to expand on one’s learning and growth,” Jonathan Alder Superintendent James Miller stated in a recent letter to students and families. “Therefore, we will begin our work and put to use the awarded state dollars toward the safety and security of our schools.”
Miller stated the funds will be used for improvements to communication tools, physical enhancements for facilities, surveillance, and security technology and software.
As part of House Bill 45, which DeWine signed last month, the Ohio General Assembly allocated a total of $112 million for the fourth and fifth rounds of the grant program. The investment more than doubles the initial allotment of of $105 million for the program provided by Ohio’s operating budget and the American Rescue Plan Act.
“When we created the K-12 School Safety Grant Program, we expected that the need for funding would far exceed the amount of money available, but I vowed to go back to the legislature and ask for more,” DeWine said. “Now, with the generous support of the Ohio General Assembly, I’m proud to announce that every single qualifying school that applied for a grant will receive funding.”
So far, a total of $173 million has been awarded to 2,374 Ohio K-12 schools to help pay for physical security expenses such as new security cameras, public address systems, automatic door locks, visitor badging systems, and exterior lighting. Eligible schools could receive as much as $100,000 per building.
The Ohio Facilities Construction Commission is administering the program in partnership with the Ohio School Safety Center.
Since taking office in 2019, DeWine has led several initiatives to support school safety, including the creation of the Ohio School Safety Center, which works to assist local schools, colleges, universities, and law enforcement agencies to prevent, prepare for, and respond to threats and acts of violence, including self-harm, through a holistic, solutions-based approach to improving school safety.
DeWine also created the Student Wellness and Success Fund, a $1.2 billion investment that is now a part of the school funding formula, to provide wraparound services to students. Wraparound services are programming and supports meant to build skills and fulfill a student or familial need. To date, this funding has launched 1,300 mental health programs and trained 6,500 educators and school professionals.
As part of his executive budget proposal presented to the Ohio General Assembly in early February, DeWine is also requesting funding to help schools with the cost of staffing a school resource officer.