The latest round of state funds — more than $42 million — to boost Ohio school building security saw some Butler County districts receive monies district officials said will be put to good and quick use.
The recent move by Ohio’s K-12 School Safety Grant Program was touted by Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine as crucial for helping keep students statewide safer from the threat of violent attacks.
“Our educators care deeply about the safety of Ohio students, as evidenced by the thousands of schools that came forward with solid security improvement plans that they intend to carry out with this funding,” DeWine noted in an announcement.
“There is nothing more important than the safety of our kids, and with today’s announcement, every qualifying school that applied for a grant has now received at least one award, including schools in all 88 counties.”
A total of 624 schools will receive funding as part of the fifth round of school safety program. This new round of funding brings the total number of schools served by this program to 2,789 and the total amount of funding awarded to more than $215 million.
Created in 2021, the program was created to help schools pay for physical security expenses such as new security cameras, public address systems, automatic door locks, visitor badging systems, and exterior lighting.
Holli Hansel, spokeswoman for Talawanda Schools, said the Oxford-area district has to date received $246,823.
“We will be using this money to update crisis communications equipment in the form of radios that network well with local law enforcement and other emergency responders,” said Hansel.
“In addition, we are purchasing (new) doors and hardware … and some other security equipment at the elementary schools. In an earlier grant phase, we received (state) funding that we used for security fencing and cameras at Talawanda High School for the outdoor sports complex.
Also receiving state security funds this round was Butler Tech.
Officials at Butler County’s largest school system said they appreciate for the latest round of state funds to further harden their school buildings from potentially deadly threats.
“We are very grateful to receive an additional $200,000 from the State’s K-12 School Safety Grant Program. Now, all 23 of our schools have been awarded money from the grant,” said Betsy Fuller, spokeswoman for the 17,200-student Lakota Schools.
“As part of our regular assessments of our buildings, we work in partnership with our school resource officers from the West Chester Police Department and Butler County Sheriff’s Office to identify areas that could be enhanced or updated to provide more security in our schools.”
“While specifics of our safety plan are confidential, generally speaking, we have already begun working on improving security cameras and other areas in our facilities. This additional money will be used in the same manner,” said Fuller.