Millions in grants for school security upgrades announced
RICHMOND, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- School divisions across Virginia are getting funding for security equipment upgrades, including more than $425,000 for schools in Central Virginia.
The Virginia Department of Education announced $12 million in state School Security Equipment Grants on Thursday.
According to a release, these funds can be used to help protect students, faculty and visitors in 431 schools in 90 school divisions across the Commonwealth.
The money will pay for voice and video communications systems, mass notification systems, security card access systems, visitor ID badging systems, surveillance cameras, two-way radios, security vestibules, interior school bus cameras, and other security enhancements.
“The systems and equipment purchased through these grants will help school divisions control access to school buildings, respond quickly to emergencies and maintain orderly learning environments for students,” said Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow. “Every student and every teacher should feel safe in their classrooms, during school activities and when traveling to and from school. In many cases, the equipment purchased addresses vulnerabilities identified in annual school security audits.”
The release says priority is given to schools that are the most in need of modern security equipment, schools that have relatively high numbers of offenses, schools with equipment needs identified by a school security audit, and divisions that are least able to afford security upgrades.
Locally, Nelson County is getting $250,000 for systems that will go to the Nelson County High School, Nelson Middle School, and Rockfish River and Tye River elementary schools.
Madison County is getting $75,200 for improvements at Waverly Yowell Elementary School.
Locust Grove Primary and Prospect Heights Middle schools in Orange County will be getting enhancements with more than $62,400 in funding.
Albemarle County is getting more than $19,400 for upgrades to Leslie H. Walton Middle School and Mary Carr Greer Elementary School.
And Fluvanna County is getting $18,670 to make upgrades at Fluvanna Middle School.
Most divisions will match 25 percent of this funding, but Lee and Scott counties are exempt.
The General Assembly created the School Security Equipment Grants Program in 2013 following the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
The release says the total annual appropriation for the program was increased from $6 million to $12 million in 2020. Additionally, the maximum award per school division was increased from $100,000 to $250,000.
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