The Indiana Secured School Board has approved more than $19 million in matching state grant funds, marking the largest ever single-year investment in safety initiatives at Hoosier schools.
The $19 million in awards allows the Board to partially or fully fund all top-priority projects identified by 429 schools in their applications to the Secured School Safety Grant program (SSSG). In addition, the Board fully funded all eligible projects geared toward implementing health and wellness support services for parents and students, a newly eligible grant request passed in April by the General Assembly.
Every school that applied for FY20 funds has received notification that their top priority requests were fully funded for all eligible items. With the matching funds required by schools, more than $35 million will be invested in school safety this year in Indiana.
“Indiana remains fully committed to ensuring the safety of Hoosier schools,” said Indiana Gov. 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.”
The SSSG fund is administered by the Indiana Department of Homeland Security. Considering the funds committed this year, the SSSG program will have distributed more than $72 million in state matching grants to schools since the program became law in 2013. All of these funds focus specifically on school safety. Visit the IDHS website for a full breakdown of SSSG awards.
“The focus on school-safety initiatives in Indiana continues to grow each year, and thankfully the funding was on hand to support every school (applicant) in some capacity,” said Rusty Goodpaster, director of the Secured School Board. “Schools were asked to identify their top priority in their district, and the Board approved matching grants for all of those eligible projects.”
The SSSG issues matching grants for eligible items and then schools match those funds at a certain level, either 25 percent, 50 percent or 100 percent. The match requirement is based on average daily membership of the school district, the total amount of the project or what the request covers.
Eligible items in the grant include funding for school resource officers (SROs) and law enforcement officers in schools; equipment and technology; active event warning systems (no matching requirement); firearms training for teachers and staff that choose to allow guns on school property; threat assessments and to implement a student and parent support services program.
In addition, the Indiana Department of Administration operates a free metal detector program that has distributed more than 3,400 metal detectors to more than 420 Indiana schools since mid-2018.
The Indiana Department of Education has supported its nationally recognized School Safety Specialist Academy since 1999 to train personnel to address safety concerns. The Indiana School Safety Hub also provides schools with a wealth of resources, training opportunities and other information designed to give schools the tools they need to keep students and staff safe.