RALEIGH — The Department of Public Instruction’s Center for Safer Schools awarded over $74 million in School Safety grants to 200 K-12 school districts across the state.
The grants were announced at the end of October and all school districts which applied for a grant received one, including charter schools.
“School safety is a top priority for the Department of Public Instruction as it is for students, families, educators – all of us,” Truitt said in a statement. “It goes without saying that safety is an essential condition for effective teaching and learning. The Center for Safer Schools did a great job ensuring that each applicant received as much funding as possible to meet that critical need.”
According to a press release, the grants will be used for safety equipment, school resource officers, training and services for students in crisis in elementary, middle and charter schools across the state. High schools were eligible for funding other than for school resource officers.
“The School Safety Grant enhances schools’ efforts to keep our students safe,” said Karen W. Fairley, executive director of the Center for Safer Schools. “We’re thankful that we had the funding available to distribute, and we know it will go to good use.”
18 districts received awards of over $1 million. Two districts received over that amount; Buncombe County and Charlotte-Mecklenburg County were awarded $5,916,650 and $2,894,685, respectively.
120 districts were awarded grants ranging from just over $100,000 to up to $984,000. The remaining 62 districts and charter schools received awards that were under $100,000 with the smallest grant awarded landing at $7,772.
Qualifying Low Wealth Counties were eligible for $44,000 per school resource officer, with a required local funding match of $11,000. Non-Low Wealth Counties were eligible for $36,666 for an SRO with a local match of $18,333, per the press release.
Awards are subject to all administrative and financial requirements, including timely submission of all financial and programmatic reports; resolution of all interim audit findings; and adherence to allowable expenses. Upon successful completion of the mandatory reports, the SRO funding will be extended automatically to the 2023-24 school year.
School Safety grants were created in 2018 through a collaborative effort between the General Assembly and then-state Superintendent Mark Johnson.
Over $120 million has been awarded to date through the grant program.