Vermont Governor Phil Scott announced that 69 public, private and independent schools across Vermont have been awarded funds to make safety improvements to school infrastructure. The $1.4 million school safety grant program will allow the schools to complete a total of 150 projects to better secure facilities.

Governor Scott and the Legislature approved the funds during the 2019 legislative session to allow eligible schools to plan for, and install, equipment to enhance building security. Priority was given to exterior and interior door locking mechanisms and public address systems to ensure all those in and outside school buildings can be informed of an emergency. Other improvements funded through these grants include security cameras, window shading and other projects.

“Supporting security improvements in our schools helps ensure all Vermont kids have the safest possible learning environment, and these funds fill gaps left by the first round of grants,” Governor Scott said. “I appreciate the Legislature’s partnership in expanding on our work in this area.”

The state has now allocated $5.5 million to 308 schools statewide to make these improvements, with $4 million going to public schools in 2018. A statewide school safety assessment conducted in early 2018 identified gaps in security at individual schools, prompting allocation of the grant funding.

“Funding security improvements is just one step in our approach to school safety, and it’s a critical one,” said Public Safety Commissioner Michael Schirling. “Our team is working on not only securing facilities, but educating communities, school administrators, teachers, and students on how to recognize and mitigate threats to students and staff.”

Another $1 million was earmarked in 2018 for school safety planning and training assistance. The Vermont School Safety Center recently conducted seven two-day regional planning, training and exercise workshops for 184 Vermont schools.