|October 16, 2014 (COLUMBUS) The Ohio School Facilities Commission has opened the second round of applications for the state of Ohio’s School Security Grant Program, which provides $17 million in new funding to schools for enhanced entrance security and advanced first–responder communications equipment.
The $17 million was included in Governor John R. Kasich’s Mid-Biennium Review signed into law this June. The funds provide reimbursements to private, parochial, and community schools, in addition to public schools not served during an earlier round of funding, for the purchase of first responder radio communications unit and main entrance security enhancements. The original initiative in the 2013 – 2014 school year provided $12 million that funded grants for more than 2,500 buildings around Ohio.
“Today’s schools have to do all they can to keep kids safe while they learn,” said Richard A. Ross, state superintendent of public instruction. “This second round of funding will put much-needed security equipment in the hands of more schools.”
According to OSFC officials, schools will utilize a web-based tool to apply for the grant funds. Schools will receive one emergency communications unit compatible with local first responders for all eligible school buildings that apply. For the entrance security grants, the Commission will assess the current and proposed security improvements to the main building entrance in an application, and determine which parts are eligible for funding.
The Commission used feedback from schools, local law enforcement and other interested parties to make improvements to the second round application process.
“By providing training and information prior to opening up the grant process, we can better serve eligible schools and prepare them to work with local law enforcement in assessing the best equipment options for the school,” said OSFC Executive Director Richard Hickman. “In addition to a pre-release webinar conducted by our grant administrators, we provided other information to schools prior to opening the application process. Our goal is to make certain that the schools are communicating with local first responders and spending the grant funds in a manner that best serves the security needs of their students.”
In addition to the funding for security upgrades at schools, the Governor’s Mid-Biennium Review signed into law earlier this year helps schools strengthen their safety plans. State experts, including those in the Department of Public Safety-Office of Homeland Security, will review school safety plans and provide guidance to help schools implement best practices and improve their plans.
For additional information regarding the grants, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the School Security grant website: http://osfc.ohio.gov/Programs/SchoolSecurityGrantProgram.aspx.
Established in 1997, the Commission is responsible for administration of the state’s school construction and renovation program. The Commission is currently working with, or has completed all necessary work in, nearly two-thirds of the state’s 613 school districts.
On September 10, 2012, the Commission was consolidated with the Office of the State Architect to form the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission. The Ohio School Facilities Commission continues to exist as a separate commission within the new agency, focusing on funding Ohio’s comprehensive K-12 school construction program.