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110 Schools Receive $2.6 Million in Safe School Grants

February 25, 2014
A total of 110 school districts in Pennsylvania have been selected to receive Pennsylvania school safety grants totaling $2.6 million, according to Senator Joe Scarnati (R-Jefferson). Clearfield, Curwensville, DuBois, Saint Marys, Brockway and Brookville School Districts are among the 110 receiving the grant.
The grants being awarded are for the Safe School Initiatives Program, which is administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) through The Office of Safe Schools.

Acting Secretary of Education Carolyn Dumaresq said, “Pennsylvania’s schools should be a safe haven for students, where their focus is on academics and reaching their highest potential.”

The funding will be used by educational institutions to establish and implement plans to prevent and reduce incidents of violence. Schools were eligible to receive individual grants of up to $25,000.

Scarnati explained that last year he introduced legislation to expand and enhance the safe schools grant program within PDE, partly in response to the tragic shooting which occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut in December of 2012.

Dumaresq said, “The Safe Schools Targeted Grants will provide schools with the resources they need to ensure that our schools will continue to be the safe learning environments that students, parents and teachers expect.”

As a result of Scarnati’s leadership, funding allocated for Safe Schools Initiatives increased from $500,000 to $2.6 million. Each school district across Pennsylvania was able to apply for the grants, to aid with the cost of providing an increased level of security at Pennsylvania schools.

“Ensuring that students and teachers feel safe in their learning environments is a crucial part of helping children to learn and succeed,” Scarnati stated. “Across Pennsylvania each school’s safety needs are unique, which this program recognizes by allowing local school officials to determine how best to use the grants to protect our children.”

This latest announcement completes the School Safety Grant Program awards for 2013-2014. The other portion of school safety grants for School Resource Officer (SRO)/School Police Officer (SPO) funding was announced last month. In his budget proposal announced earlier this month, Governor Corbett proposed $8.5 million in funding for the program in the coming 2014-2015 fiscal year.

“Providing the greatest level of security possible at our schools is something that parents, teachers and children expect and deserve,” Scarnati stated. “As we begin to work through Pennsylvania’s annual state budget process for the upcoming fiscal year, I will continue to be a chief advocate for the School Safety Grant Program. Our children are our future and keeping them safe is of the greatest importance.”

The focus of the grant program is to assist schools by:

  • Reducing unnecessary student disciplinary actions and promoting an environment of greater productivity, safety and learning;
  • Providing professional development to staff using research-based violence prevention and classroom management programs; and
  • Enhancing antiviolence efforts between schools and parents, local governments, law enforcement and community organizations.
Schools were eligible to receive up to $25,000, with the following programs considered for funding:
  • Conflict resolution or dispute management.
  • School-wide positive behavior support.
  • School-based diversion programs.
  • Classroom management.
  • Research-based violence prevention programs that address risk factors to reduce incidents of problem behaviors among students.
  • Training for Student Assistance Program team members.
  • Staff training in the use of positive behavior supports, de-escalation techniques and appropriate responses to student behavior that may require immediate intervention.

A full list of grant awardees and award amounts can be found on PDE’s website at www.education.state.pa.us, by clicking on the “2013-14 Safe Schools Targeted Grants” icon.

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