As Texas educators are well aware, Texas charter school funding is primarily based on student attendance numbers. These institutions do not receive any funding from local property taxes. Starting with the 2018-19 school year, Texas charter schools are eligible for state funding for facility maintenance and leasing, which previously represented a massive gap in charter school budgets. The remainder of a charter school’s funding must be fulfilled through donations.
This structure leaves precious little money left in a yearly budget to address school safety and security. The good news is that the average charter school is doing an excellent job of creating a safe campus, albeit with limited resources.
According to a study published by the U.S. Department of Education in July 2019, violent incidents are significantly less common at charter schools than public school districts. While traditional public schools saw 20 violent incidents per 1,000 students, charters only experienced 11.3 acts of violence. When it comes to existing school security measures, on average, charter schools perform about as well as public schools—and beat them in some categories. For example, charter schools are far more likely than public schools to require school uniforms and ID badges, as well as control outside access to school grounds.
All that is wonderful news for charters, but most schools—public, private, or charter—have room for improvement in their safety and security plans.
To help charter school leaders fill the school security funding gap, ScholarChip has compiled information about a state grant and a federal grant for which Texas charter schools may be eligible. Keep reading to learn whether your charter may qualify for these two grants and how ScholarChip can help.
Federal Funding for Charter School Security
The U.S. Department of Education’s Project Prevent Grant Program provides schools with funding to improve access to counseling programs. Project Prevent is designed to disrupt the cycle of violence by increasing student access to counseling services at “schools in communities with pervasive violence.” To qualify for these funds, the proposed school project must fulfill four criteria:
1. Offer students access to counseling services, whether on campus or elsewhere in the community, for assistance with trauma or anxiety.
2. Offer students school-based support as they deal with the effects of violence in their lives, whether that violence occurs on or off campus.
3. Teach students strategies (such as conflict resolution) to prevent further violence from arising in their everyday life.
4. Implement activities to improve the school environment, reduce incidents of violence, and combat substance abuse.
ScholarChip’s Alternative Behavior Educator is a tool that can help Texas charter schools meet the criteria for this grant program. ScholarChip-ABE provides a simple way for school staff to identify students at risk of violence and coach them to make better choices. It also streamlines communication among school staff by providing a central reporting hub for recording concerns about a student’s behavior. When the student begins receiving counseling services, their counselor can assign learning modules for them to complete independently.
Texas State Funding for Charter School Security
The School Safety and Security Grant is a funding opportunity offered by the Texas Education Agency. The program provides $100 million for equipment to help harden campuses and enhance school security measures. Texas public schools of all kinds are eligible to apply, including open-enrollment charter schools.
School Safety and Security grant funds may be used to purchase and install school security equipment such as video monitoring systems, door locking systems, and two-way radios. Products offered by ScholarChip that meet these criteria include:
- A door access system allows schools to control who passes through which doors during the school day. The system also allows school leadership or front-office staff to immediately lock down the entire campus with the click of a button.
- Visitor management makes it easy to keep track of who is on campus throughout the day. For example, with the swipe of a person’s driver’s license, front-office staff will receive an instant sex offender registry report to identify if the person should be kept off campus.
- Mobile monitoring tools automate student tracking and attendance recording and streamline on-the-spot discipline processes. Instantly recording behavior infractions will make it easier to flag students who are at a higher risk of escalating behavior problems, and get them the interventions and counseling services they need.
ScholarChip Can Help Improve Safety at Your Charter School
ScholarChip believes that the best way to prevent school violence is a two-prong approach:
1. Implement barriers to entry.
2. Create a more positive school environment by intervening with at-risk students and rewarding good behavior.
ScholarChip’s products are designed to help schools achieve these goals and much more. If you need more advice about Texas charter school funding and security, contact ScholarChip today, and a member of our team will be in touch shortly.
To learn how ScholarChip can help keep your schools safer and more secure, learn more about the many solutions ScholarChip provides, or get free recommendations, feel free to contact us for a free consultation!