Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced that the Ohio School Safety Center will award $10 million in grants to fund security enhancements at K-12 public schools and institutions of higher education in Ohio.
Two new grant programs through the Ohio School Safety Center will help schools and universities pinpoint physical security weaknesses and make needed improvements and upgrades.
"It’s important that we work proactively to ensure that our school buildings and grounds are as safe as possible to protect both students and staff,” said Governor DeWine.
The 2021 Campus Safety Grant Program, which has begun accepting applications, will award $5 million to qualifying public colleges and universities for improvements to physical security on their campuses. The 2021 K-12 Safety Grant Program, administered by the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission (OFCC), will award an additional $5 million to qualifying public K-12 schools for similar school safety expenses.
"These state-based grant dollars provide an opportunity for schools to collaborate with first responders to not only identify areas of improvement for security and safety, but actually have the means to do something about it and fill the gaps to keep students and staff safe," said Ohio Department of Public Safety Director Tom Stickrath.
Both grant programs were funded as part of Senate Bill 310 of the 133rd General Assembly.
To qualify for grant funding, schools must first conduct a security and vulnerability assessment to identify potential areas for improvement. Funding will then be awarded to mitigate the identified safety gaps. Eligible expenses include but are not limited to improved lighting in parking lots, security cameras at building entrances, and secure doors.
“We believe this is the first time a Governor and General Assembly have provided a statewide higher education campus safety capital grant program. I appreciate the Governor’s leadership and recognition of our colleges and universities,” said Ohio Department of Higher Education Chancellor Randy Gardner. “This funding will allow colleges and universities to further collaborate with their first responders and safety professionals to help make our campuses a safe place to learn, visit, and reside.”