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Area schools share state safety grants

Several local school districts could soon receive a portion of a $9 million state grant to help improve school safety.

Gov. Mike Pence said Wednesday more than 250 school districts would benefit from the Secured School Safety Grant Program.

“It’s a great honor to announce the continuation of these grants to our local schools across the state. All of Indiana’s students deserve to learn and grow in a safe environment,” Pence said in a statement.

Fort Wayne Community Schools, as well as East Allen, Southwest Allen and Northwest Allen county schools will each receive a $50,000 matching grant.

EACS and FWCS will use the money to employ a school resource officer, while SACS and NACS will pay for additional school safety equipment, according to the governor’s office.

To receive the funding, the districts must match the total amount received, said John Erickson, an Indiana Department of Homeland Security spokesman.

School corporations, charter schools or other education entities with an average daily membership of at least 1,000 students applied for grants of up to $50,000. Those with fewer than 1,000 students applied for grants up to $35,000.

This year, the pool of eligible recipients was expanded to include cooperative career and technical education centers, the governor’s office said.

Nearly $5 million in grant money will be used to buy equipment and more than $4 million will go to employ school resource officers at Hoosier schools. About $32,000 will be used to conduct four threat assessments, the governor’s office said.

This is the second time the school safety grants have been awarded. The first awards, announced Nov. 1, also totaled more than $9 million.

The Indiana Secured School Safety Board, which includes representatives from state, education and public safety organizations, approved the grants.