After the devastating Santa Fe shooting in 2018, Texas school districts realized that they needed to develop more robust safety plans. In 2019, the Texas legislature responded to this need by developing the School Safety and Security Grant. Over the course of two years—from 2019 to 2021—the legislature decided to allocate $100 million to school districts that make updates to their school security plans.
The Texas Education Agency (TEA) monitors funding of the grant and only allows use of these funds for specific purposes. This school security grant isn’t designed to be used for all types of safety measures: Its purpose is to update particular infrastructure issues that could pose security problems.
Outdated infrastructure concerns can cause significant problems for schools. Specifically, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) reports that nearly a quarter of America’s 100,000 public schools have infrastructures that are in poor or fair condition. This means that if safety issues were to arise, many Texas school districts would be unprepared.
However, in order to earn money for a district, schools must fill out an application for a school security grant from the TEA that details what they’d use their portion of the funding for.
Let’s talk about what your grant proposal should and should not include, so you can increase the chances of your school being approved.
Nuts and Bolts of the School Safety and Security Grant
You can apply for this grant if you are a representative of a school district, education service center, or charter school. Higher education institutions and nonprofit institutions may also apply, though they’re not the intended recipients.
Many of the funds can be used for infrastructure updates that would make your school more secure. These include installing “exterior doors with push bars,” “ erected vehicle barriers,” “perimeter security fencing,” and “door-locking systems.”
If you were focusing on creating an automatic door-locking system, ScholarChip’s Secure Door Access would fit within the parameters of the School Safety and Security Grant. With just a click of a mouse on the Master Status Control Panel, you can create an immediate lockdown.
These are the kind of meaningful infrastructure changes that the grant is designed to pay for.
Security updates to outdated campuses is another crucial facet that applicants to the Safety and Security Grant should consider. These include metal detectors, “security systems that monitor and record school entrances, exits, and hallways,” two-way radios, bullet-resistant glass or film for entries, and “campus-wide active shooter alarm systems that are separate from fire alarms.” Active shooter training that is part of “a documented part of a larger security system or active shooter alarm system” can also be covered.
If you’re applying for the grant to make your entrances more secure, ScholarChip has two suitable tools. The first is the One Card. All students, faculty, and staff use this card to check in when they come to campus in the morning and as they enter various rooms throughout the day. This way, you always know who is on campus and exactly where they are in your buildings.
ScholarChip’s Visitor Management system also helps you keep track of personnel coming and going from your school. You will be able to account for everyone on campus, including visitors, if an emergency occurs.
Activities and Maintenance Not Allowed
The types of infrastructure changes described above are the only school modifications covered by the grant. No administrative, advisory council, or non-employee stipends can be paid for, and districts cannot use the funds to hire school resource officers.
Most types of training are not covered, unless they can be included as part of training for an active shooter alarm system, as described above. What’s more, no travel grants or conferences can be paid for by the funds.
Furthermore, this grant only covers new infrastructure updates; it can’t be used to maintain, repair, or replace safety or security equipment “with equal specifications.”
Receiving School Safety and Security Grant Money
If you do receive the grant, you’ll have to collect data and report on your findings during the mid- and end-point of your project. You’ll also need to have a data collection plan in mind because you’ll need to describe how your security modifications were effective.
Including the right details and processes in your grant application is an integral part of ensuring that your proposal is accepted. A TEA school security grant could help you make your school safer in the event of an emergency. Take advantage of these funds, as they are set to expire in 2021.
ScholarChip offers a solution called Alternative Behavior Educator (ABE). This innovative program enables school administrators and counselors to identify, monitor, and improve student behavior throughout a student’s career, while giving them powerful data-driven reports that quickly flag at-risk students, help monitor and chronicle progress, and help them identify school safety risks before incidents.
To learn how ScholarChip can help make Texas schools safer or get free recommendations, feel free to contact us for a free consultation!