Today, Senator Ken Yager (R-Kingston) announced over $1 million in state grants for school districts he represents to improve school safety and security. These grants include $317,157.77 in Safe School grants, which are recurring funds and $762,850 in School Safety and Security grants, which are one-time funds. This year the General Assembly included $35 million in the 2018/2019 state budget for school safety, which Yager supported, following recommendations from Governor Haslam’s School Safety Working Group.
“I was glad to support these grants for school safety and am pleased that local school districts will benefit from these funds,” said Yager. “Our students should be able to learn in an environment where they feel safe. The assessment process conducted by law enforcement in collaboration with local officials was an efficient way to determine the needs of each school district to ensure safety for students.”
In order to apply for grant funding, local school officials partnered with the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security, the Department of Education, and local law enforcement to complete safety assessments for school facilities and safety procedures. This was the first time the state led a comprehensive effort to determine the security needs at individual schools. Based on the findings following this assessment, all school districts were eligible to apply for two grants to receive funding for local safety and security needs.
The grants for Senate District 12 that apply to the listening area include:
· Fentress County – $24,890 in recurring funds and $62,220 in non-recurring funds to address access control, surveillance and communication as areas of need;
· Morgan County – $38,530 in recurring funds and $96,330 in surveillance and School Resource Officers (SRO) as identified areas of need;
· Pickett County – $8,110 in recurring funds and $20,270 in non-recurring funds to address access control, surveillance, and communication as areas of need;
· Rhea County – $53,259.77 in recurring funds and $120,330 in non-recurring funds to address perimeter control, visitor management, and surveillance as identified areas of need;
· Roane County – $63,370 in recurring funds and $158,430 in non-recurring funds to address signage, access control and surveillance as identified areas of need;
Additionally, as a result of the working group recommendations, the Department of Safety and Homeland Security is working to secure a developer to complete a statewide school safety mobile application. The application will be designed for use by students, faculty and staff to anonymously report concerning or suspicious behavior to local law enforcement and school officials.
“I appreciate the work that local officials did to complete the application process and work well with the Department of Safety and Department of Education to complete the assessments. The safety and security of our schools will continue to be a top priority in years to come,” added Yager.