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Governor Ups the Ante on School Security Funding

After doling out $21 million in 2013 to help 111 districts with projects to beef up security, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy is including $10 million in his budget proposal to expand the program to all public schools.

Patch File Photo
Patch File Photo

A release from the Office of the Governor:

Joined by legislators, agency commissioners and school officials at Wilbur Cross High School in New Haven, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy on Thursday announced a plan to expand the School Security Grant Program as part of his legislative agenda for 2014.

“Providing safe learning environments for our students and educators is a basic responsibility of state and local governments,” said Gov. Malloy. “Last year, we secured funding to support grant requests for security upgrades at 604 schools — every school that applied. This year, I am proposing to expand eligibility to all public schools that need additional resources to modernize security infrastructure.”

The governor’s budget proposal will include a $10 million proposal to expand the School Security Grant Program, originally created as part of the historic 2013 legislation on gun violence prevention, mental health and school safety. Last year, the governor helped secure $21 million to cover projects in 111 school districts. That first round of funding was open to district-run community and magnet schools. The new plan expands eligibility to all public schools, including technical and inter-district magnet schools.

Gov. Malloy continued, “Connecticut has made significant strides in the past year to provide safe learning environments for our students. Additionally, I want to thank DAS Commissioner Donald DeFronzo and DESPP Deputy Commissioner William Shea for their leadership on the School Security Infrastructure Council. The Council is establishing security standards that will require a more comprehensive and uniform consideration of school security measures that will make schools safer.”

Department of Administrative Services Commissioner DeFronzo stated, “Our challenge was to balance the need for statewide school security standards with the need to preserve an educational environment that maintains an open, welcoming and supportive place for teaching and learning. We think that the recommended process and design standards will achieve both goals."

"Ensuring the safety of Connecticut's schools is our most fundamental obligation. Governor Malloy’s proposal will provide further assistance to public schools in the wake of Sandy Hook, bolstering local efforts to strengthen and modernize school security,” said State Department of Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor. “We are grateful that the Governor continues to recognize the importance of supporting districts' and municipalities' efforts to strengthen school security.”

“Public Safety is one of the core functions of our government, especially when it comes to our children’s safety and security,” said Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP) Deputy Commissioner William Shea. “This plan demonstrates the continuing commitment and investment Governor Malloy has made to our children and educators."

"We have learned difficult lessons from tragedies in Newtown and at other schools across the nation," New Haven Mayor Toni H. Harp said. "Among them, we have learned the vital importance of failsafe emergency communications systems, comprehensive video monitoring, and restricted access to school buildings. The grant program Governor Malloy described today will help individual schools — and school districts like ours in New Haven — underwrite the costs of these sadly necessary upgrades."

"If we are going to 'reclaim the promise' of public education in this state, we need safe, secure welcoming environments for our children to learn and our teachers to educate,” said Steve McKeever, American Federation of  Teachers (AFT) Connecticut First Vice-President and science teacher at Middletown High School. “Governor Malloy recognizes the vital importance of safe schools and is helping local districts with the tools needed to improve school security."

The matching-grant grant program is administered by the state Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP). State funding is used to reimburse municipalities for a portion of the costs associated security infrastructure improvements such as the installation of surveillance cameras, bullet proof glass, electric locks, buzzer and card entry systems, and panic alarms.

Awards are based on a school security assessment survey conducted by each local school district that applies. Each municipality will be reimbursed between 20 and 80 percent according to town wealth, as defined in subdivision (26) of section 10-262f of the Connecticut General Statutes.

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