COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – The Columbus City School District is planning some safety and security upgrades, with just under $1 million in grant money being spent across 19 schools.

The Columbus City School Board approved the expenditure of the grant money Tuesday, and now scheduling of the work will start as soon as possible.

“Just the world being the way it is now, it wasn’t like that when I was in school, so it’s scary for me every day I drop her off,” said parent Karla Mattox.

Mattox said she often thinks about her daughter’s safety during the school day. Her daughter is in the 10th grade.

“We send our students to schools to learn, but it’s always in the back of my mind,” she said.

Just last week, Columbus police arrested a 14-year-old who was allegedly caught on surveillance cameras at East High School with an unloaded gun. While Mattox’s daughter doesn’t go there, she said incidents like those make her uneasy.

“That kind of stuff scares me a whole lot,” she said. “Just every single day, sending her to school just kind of makes me nervous.”

Columbus City Schools was awarded roughly $950,000 from the Ohio K-12 School Safety Grant. The grant outlines 19 schools that will receive money. A Columbus schools spokesperson said the money will be used to update video surveillance and electric monitoring equipment.

“We know safety is a priority for the district as well as for our parents,” said Columbus City Schools Director of Communications Jacqueline Bryant. “And we want to be able to provide the safest environment possible, so by updating our surveillance, it allows us to see into the classroom, so to speak, or see into the building.”

At Tuesday’s meeting, the board approved spending the grant funding so the work can get started.

“I think it’s a good thing,” Mattox said. “It’s sad it has to come to that, but I mean, it’s good because the main goal is the students, so making sure students are safe and that they get back home to their parents safe, that’s the main thing.”

The schools receiving the security upgrades are:

  • Beechcroft High School
  • Briggs High School
  • Buckeye Middle School
  • Centennial High School
  • Columbus Alternative High School
  • Columbus Prep for Boys Middle School
  • Cranbrook Elementary
  • Eastmoor Academy High School
  • Highland Elementary
  • Indian Springs Elementary
  • Johnson Park Middle School
  • Marion-Franklin High School
  • Moler Elementary
  • Walnut Ridge High School
  • West Broad Elementary
  • Westmoor Middle School
  • Winterset Elementary
  • Woodward Park Middle School
  • Yorktown Middle School

According to the district, the work related to this grant will likely be finished during the next school year.

The funding is in addition to the approximately $250,000 the district approved in October to purchase 60 metal detectors for district buildings.

  • During the meeting, the board also voted to approve the purchase of 60 new school buses, which is expected to cost nearly $8.5 million.

The district said the new buses will replace older ones that are becoming obsolete. The district expects to have the new buses by this time next year.