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Indiana schools use state grant to improve school security

Some schools in the area are questioning how the school security grant is awarded because amounts vary quite a bit.

Posted: Sep 9, 2019 9:08 PM
Updated: Sep 10, 2019 10:13 AM

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) - Schools across Indiana are splitting $19 million to improve school security.

Some schools in the area are questioning how the school security grant is awarded because amounts vary quite a bit.

"Because you can never be too safe," said Northwest Allen County spokeswoman Lizette Downey. "We do have a large need with just security cameras in of themselves."

Northwest Allen County Schools is one of a handful of districts in northeast Indiana getting $100,000 from the School Safety Grant Program. That's doubled from last year.

"Just trying to look at every angle of each property and think of how we can better serve the safety needs for that particular school," Downey said.

Under state law, schools must use the grant money in certain areas like school resource officers and security equipment.

This year, lawmakers added an extra $5 million and expanded training and support services to the list of eligible projects.

NACS plans to use the money to pay for an fourth SRO.

"You want as much support as you can have. When you need back up at a moment's notice, having someone you know is a few minutes away makes it easier and faster," said Downey.

Jay School Corporation also is using the money for an SRO, but it is only getting $25,000 from the grant, which is only half of last year's total.

"We have a comprehensive approach to school safety so we budgeted that way. There is more than one thing in school safety," said Jay School Corporation superintendent Jeremy Gulley.

Gulley said he is now in a bind while implementing that plan.

"By forcing to districts to pick one, there are other things that got zero funding. That was a surprise to us," he said.

This year, schools asked for $4.8 million more than what was available.

The Indiana Department of Homeland Security said to be fair, it made schools to prioritize their needs.

This way, every school requesting money had their top priority covered.

"Let them make the decision on how to best utilize the funds and what they think. Because each school district across the state has unique needs," said the director of the Secured School Safety Board Rusty Goodpaster.

Gulley said he wouldn't mind seeing the grants distributed like the state education fund, where schools get money based on students enrolled.

You can see how much each school received for school security here.

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