COLUMBUS, Ohio (WDTN) – Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced Wednesday that the Ohio School Safety Center will award a total of $10 million in grants to fund security enhancements at K-12 public schools and institutions of higher education in Ohio.
“It’s important that we work proactively to ensure that our school buildings and grounds are as safe as possible to protect both students and staff,” said Governor DeWine. “Two new grant programs offered through the Ohio School Safety Center will help schools and universities pinpoint any weaknesses in their physical security and make needed improvements and upgrades.”
The 2021 Campus Safety Grant Program, which began accepting applications Wednesday, will award $5 million to qualifying public colleges and universities for improvements to physical security on their campuses, according to a release. The 2021 K-12 Safety Grant Program, administered by the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission (OFCC), will award an additional $5 million to qualifying public K-12 schools for similar school safety expenses.
Both grant programs were funded as part of Senate Bill 310 of the 133rd General Assembly.
“We believe this is the first time a Governor and General Assembly have provided a statewide higher education campus safety capital grant program. I appreciate the Governor’s leadership and recognition of our colleges and universities,” said Ohio Department of Higher Education Chancellor Randy Gardner. “This funding will allow colleges and universities to further collaborate with their first responders and safety professionals to help make our campuses a safe place to learn, visit, and reside.”
To qualify for grant funding, schools must first conduct a security and vulnerability assessment to identify potential areas for improvement. Funding would then be awarded to reduce the safety gaps. Eligible expenses include but are not limited to improved lighting in parking lots, security cameras at building entrances, and secure doors.
Public colleges and universities applying for a 2021 Campus Safety Grant can submit an electronic application from now through July 16, and awards will be announced in August. OFCC will share the application and additional information with public K-12 school buildings in mid-to-late summer. Awardees for the K-12 grants are anticipated to be announced in early 2022.
“I encourage all eligible public K-12 schools to apply for a K-12 Safety Grant,” said OFCC Executive Director Cheryl J. Lyman “This grant is an opportunity to support schools as they provide environments that are safe and conducive to learning and achievement.”