Bill Will Allow Vermont Schools to Apply for School Security Grants
Public, private and independent schools in Vermont can apply for grants up to $25,000 to increase on-campus security.
This second round of funding for the School Safety and Security Grant (SSSG) Program was included in the Capital Bill (Act 42), passed during this year’s legislative session and signed by Governor Phil Scott.
The $1.5 million will allow Vermont schools and supervisory unions to purchase enhancements to existing security systems or school infrastructure, as well as new school security systems or technology to enhance school safety.
Vermont schools can apply for grants of up to $25,000 to equip school facilities with interior and exterior door locks, indoor and outdoor public address systems and other tools to improve safety at schools. Each school will be responsible for a 25% grant match. Independent schools, as well as schools that were not funded in the last round of applications, are now eligible to apply.
“These grants are the latest step in our ongoing commitment to ensuring safe learning environments in all Vermont schools,” said Governor Scott. “While Vermont remains among the safest states in the country – and our schools are no exception – we must continue to build upon this effort through a comprehensive approach, including enhancing safety infrastructure, training staff to recognize and address threats and concerning behavior, promoting the importance of ‘see something, say something,’ and engaging the whole community to keep our schools safe.”
Last year, the Governor and Legislature made $4 million available to schools for the same purpose. 241 Vermont schools received grants averaging $16,000 to fund 567 school safety enhancements.
In the fall of 2018, the Department of Public Safety received $400,000 from the U.S. Department of Justice to fund new school safety initiatives. The federal grants are paying for a Vermont School Safety Tip Line and programs that allow the whole community to play a role in protecting schools.
In the spring of this year, the Department of Public Safety entered into a partnership with Margolis-Healy of Williston to provide school safety planning, training and exercise assistance to Vermont schools. Margolis-Healy is providing training and exercise guidance directly to schools and working with school administrators and public safety personnel to develop a standardized Emergency Operation Plan, simplifying the planning process for school districts and create statewide uniformity. This initiative is funded through Homeland Security Grant Program funds.
The Scott Administration and Vermont-NEA also launched a student-led “See Something, Say Something” public service announcement campaign earlier this year.