Vermont to award $4 million in school safety grants

MONTPELIER, Vt. – More than 250 Vermont schools have applied for funding to make security upgrades to their facilities. The state will award $4 million in grants by this fall to help schools strengthen security, using guidance from a statewide safety assessment conducted earlier this year. Gov. Phil Scott ordered the assessments after an alleged school-shooting plot was uncovered and averted in Fair Haven in February.

The $4 million resulted from a funding package proposed by Scott and passed by the Legislature.

“The number of schools applying for funds is encouraging,” Scott said. “Administrators are clearly committed to making kids safer at school and I’m pleased we were able to work together to provide the funding, training and support they need to work toward those goals.”

The assessment identified door locks, indoor and outdoor public-address systems, cameras, and other infrastructure schools can purchase to improve safety. A working group with representatives from the school community, emergency services, and the State of Vermont has developed a recommended equipment/technology list that assisted schools in their applications for grants.

A 12-member committee of school administrators, emergency responders, and state representatives are reviewing the applications and will notify schools of awards by Aug. 1, 2018. Funds will be distributed by Sept. 1, 2018. Grants of up to $25,000 per school are available and each school is required to provide a 25 percent match to the grant amount.

Vermont Emergency Management and the Vermont School Safety Center are also helping schools through a series of safety trainings in July. More than 100 superintendents, principals, and school staff are taking part in a series of classes around the state focused on emergency response and emergency communications.

Another $1 million will be available this fall to support schools in developing emergency plans. For more information and resources on school safety, visit www.schoolsafety.vermont.gov.

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