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169 Missouri school districts and charter schools awarded grants from School Safety Grant Program


Gov. Mike Parson on Monday announced 169 school districts and charter schools have been awarded grants from the School Safety Grant Program.

Columbia Public Schools and the Jefferson City School District applied for the grant, but did not receive funding, according to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

On Feb. 27, Parson signed an early supplemental budget bill for the 2023 fiscal year that appropriated $20 million for the School Safety Grants to support safety improvements at schools across the Show-Me State.

"Improving the safety and security for our schools is an issue we all can support, and these grants help ensure our schools remain in safe environments for Missouri children to learn," Parson said in a press release. "While threats of violence are something we never want to see in our classrooms, we must be prepared and have proper resources and response plans in place."

The grants will pay for security upgrades, associated technology such as door locks and monitoring systems. The grants will also pay for bleeding control kits and automatic-external defibrillators.

"Security cameras and security systems were very common in the application process, entry systems into buildings and some things like bollards in front of school buildings along with playground fencing," DESE Deputy Financial Commissioner Kari Monsees said.

Some schools in the Mid-Missouri area were granted funding.

Boonville R-I was awarded $200,000; the Moberly School District was awarded $104,947; and Phelps County R-III received $50,000.

The St. Joseph School District is the largest district to receive grant funding with $600,000.

DESE used a scoring system looking at the school's building age, assessed value per ADA points and status survey points to award the grants. The districts that scored 56 or higher were awarded a grant.

"Districts have multiple buildings that need to have things addressed and smaller districts that have fewer buildings," Monsees said. "So we used a graduated scale based on the size of enrollment."

Columbia Public Schools and the Jefferson City School District each scored 28 points.

DESE says an additional $50 million is being discussed in the Missouri legislative session for the fiscal year 2024 budget for funding for similar school safety grants.

"(If passed) we anticipate creating another application process for school districts to apply for that round of funding and I assume it will be a somewhat process of what we had in place this Spring," Monsees said.

Article Topic Follows: Education

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Erika McGuire


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