Idaho schools will soon see new money for school safety.
Applications for the Securing Our Future grant program — a $20 million initiative designed to help schools ramp up their safety measures — opened Monday. And Idaho districts could start to see the funds by early July.
Lawmakers approved the $20 million fund during the 2023 legislative session. Idaho’s Office of School Safety and Security has since been working to accelerate the application and distribution process.
“We know that summer days are precious for schools to accomplish projects,” said program manager Mike Munger in a Tuesday meeting of the School Safety and Security Program. “We want to make sure that we can get this money out into the hands of school districts to be able to start those projects as soon as they can.”
District administrators have until October 15 to apply for the first phase of funding — up to $20,000 in one-time, per-school grants. Every public school with demonstrated safety needs (excluding online-only institutions) is eligible.
Districts with needs exceeding $20,000 can combine their per-school allocations within the district — a district with one state-of-the-art high school and one older school, for example, could put $40,000 toward the school with higher needs.
Securing Our Future grant project proposals must fall into one of a few school safety categories:
- Access control. This category includes projects like securing perimeters, installing door locks or single point-of-entry systems and improving visitor control.
- Communications. Implementing two-way radio systems or improving public communication would fall into this category.
- Life safety systems. This encompasses fire alarms and other potentially life-saving alerts.
- Surveillance. New or upgraded camera systems are eligible expenses.
Eligible project proposals must refer to a district’s most recent safety evaluation report, and must be “durable, meaningful and demonstrated effective,” Munger said. Funding for experimental solutions, or fixes that have not been proven to work in Idaho schools, will not be approved.
And since the grants are one-time allocations, the state encourages districts to avoid putting the grants toward personnel or multi-year projects that would require ongoing funds.
Applications opened Monday, but the online portal has not yet been posted. On Friday, the Office of School Safety and Security sent emails to all district superintendents outlining the application process and requirements. EdNews obtained a copy of the grant application from the Office of School Safety and Security, find it here.
With a projected $4 million in leftover funds, the state will move into the second phase of school safety grants later this year. These applications will be more competitive, but could yield higher payouts for high-needs schools.
For more information, read the Office of School Safety and Security’s grant FAQ.