BATON ROUGE, La. – The state education department is making money available to school districts across the state to improve school safety by limiting access points.
School districts have until April 3 to apply for a portion of $21 million in grant funds designed to fund projects aimed at creating single-point entries onto buildings or campuses. The money can be used to buy surveillance cameras, metal detectors, other security equipment or even for construction renovations to improve access control.
“Nothing is more important to us than the safety of our students and employees and the buildings. What we’re doing is taking $21 million dollars and we’re placing that towards access control. We’re allowing schools throughout the state to apply in a competitive process for basically half-million dollar grants,” state education Superintendent Cade Brumley told KTBS Thursday.
The plan is to fund 42 projects with that money.
“We are very particular about asking the applications to be very focused on access control, single points of entry into these buildings, because I just believe we have to harden our perimeters,” Brumley said.
The one-time allocation of funds is coming from the federal Bipartisan Safer Communities Act of 2022, which provides $1 billion in funding for states.
School districts have been given guidance on what DOE is looking for in the grant applications.
“The idea would be they would do remodeling, construction projects, potentially metal detectors, security cameras, fencing. They could work on exterior locks throughout the school. But the idea that they would have a better sense of flow in and out of the building, to keep kids and employees safe,” Brumley said.
The grant process has been streamlined to hopefully get money into the hands of school districts in June so they can begin work on their projects.
“Primarily we’re just looking for access control issues. You know buildings today, in new construction, architecture for security, that’s in the forefront of every conversation. But in our state we have buildings that are 50, 70, 80 years old and at that point in time school security wasn’t necessarily at the forefront of the conversation. So, hopefully some of these dollars hopefully will be able to used to retrofit some of those buildings,” Brumley said.
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