Schools across the state will receive nearly $30 million this year to spend on safety measures – with two-thirds of the funds going to law enforcement and school resource officers.
Gov. Eric Holcomb announced on Tuesday that the state approved all Secured School Safety Grant applications this year due to an increase in funding from the Indiana Department of Homeland Security.
“These school safety grants represent another example of historic investments in public safety,” Holcomb said in a press release. “I am pleased we are able to financially support every school that identified safety as a top priority.”
The grant provides matching funds up to $100,000 to schools. The money can be used to hire security personnel, purchase safety equipment and technology, expand parent and student support services, conduct site vulnerability assessments, and more.
This year, more than 450 schools submitted about 600 safety projects.
The largest spending category is for school resource officers and law enforcement officers. More than $19 million will go toward placing SROs and LEOs in schools.
The Indiana Department of Homeland Security’s website said SROs must receive training and be employed or appointed by a law enforcement agency to qualify for Secured School Safety Grant money.
Schools also requested more than $8 million in safety equipment, technology and hardware.
The two lowest spending categories were bullying prevention and post-incident counseling services. Two schools submitted bullying prevention projects that total $17,000. No schools requested funding for post-incident counseling services.
Additionally, seven schools requested nearly $102,000 for firearm training for staff. A new law passed earlier this year authorizes money from the Indiana secured school fund to be used to provide firearm training to some teachers and school employees.
“Since the inception of the Secured Schools Safety Grant program, we have listened to schools across the state about what they see as their greatest needs in the way of safety,” said Joel Thacker, Indiana Department of Homeland Security executive director, in a press release. “As a result, this year we can offer more eligible funding categories than ever before, leading to safer schools and an overall better learning environment.”
Holcomb announced earlier this year that he plans to increase Secured School Safety Grant funding by $25 million each year.