It is no secret that school districts continue to need funding to improve infrastructure and deferred maintenance in our local schools. It is also no secret that trying to navigate the bureaucracy to find and access government funds and grants available to local school districts can be very difficult and is sometimes a barrier for school districts to obtain those grants. The White House has released a toolkit to help schools navigate the different government agencies that have funds and grants available and how to access them. For example:
White House Toolkit on Federal Resources for School Infrastructure Needs
- $500 million is available to schools to help reduce energy costs through the U.S. Department of Energy;
- $5 billion through the U.S. EPA is available to help schools achieve cleaner school buses;
- Grants and funding are available through the U.S Department of Agriculture to help rural school districts with various unique needs such as online distance learning and improving water and waste systems.
FEEDBACK REQUESTED: Does your school district need help in obtaining federal grants? Have you used a grant writer to seek federal grants or worked with your congressional office? Please respond with feedback on your experience by email to Governmental Relations Director Andrew Proctor.
Federal Grants for School SafetyThe U.S. Department of Justice has announced two grants available to school districts to improve school safety.
The first grant through the department’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services provides grants to improve security at schools and on school grounds by implementing evidence-based school safety programs and technology. Grants can help pay for personnel and benefit costs, equipment, technology, supplies, and training needs.
An important part of the grant submissions process is that the school district must ensure that the application was prepared after consultation with individuals such as law enforcement, mental health professionals, students, parents, teachers, and principals. This is to guarantee that the security improvements are consistent with a comprehensive approach to address school safety needs that protects student privacy and does not lead to student discrimination based on race, national origin, disability, religion, or sex.
The second grant is offered through the department’s Bureau of Justice Assistance through the STOP School Violence Program and is available to address any of the following needs:
- Developing and operating technology solutions such as anonymous reporting systems for threats of school violence;
- Multidisciplinary behavioral threat assessment and/or intervention teams; training school personnel and educating students on preventing school violence, including strategies to improve a school climate;
- Specialized training for law enforcement who work in schools and/or with school-age populations such as school resource officers (SROs) and probation officers; and
- Hiring of school support personnel such as climate specialists, school psychologists, school social workers, school-based violence interrupters, and others directly supporting the prevention of school violence.