District secures $220,000 safety grant

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The District was awarded a $220,000 grant through the Wisconsin Department of Justice School Safety Program, Attorney General Brad Schimel announced Monday.

MCPASD was one of 52 schools or school districts that were awarded grants totaling more than $3.5 million on Monday. Director of Technology Services Jim Blodgett and administrator Bill Deno, who were instrumental in writing the safety grant for the District, attended the announcement at Christ King School in Wauwatosa.

The District has requested that nearly $49,000 be spent on equipment and more than $171,000 on supplies and operating expenses.

The District's $220,000 grant was the largest announced on Monday, with Elmbrook in Waukesha County next at $210,800. Stoughton and Waunakee were the only other Dane County districts to receive safety grants on Monday.

“Momentum to improve school safety, training, and law enforcement collaboration continues with today’s school safety grant awards,” Schimel said. “The public safety professionals at DOJ, in conjunction with dozens of educational and mental health response professionals, established a meaningful way to improve school safety by strengthening response to mental health crises and improving the physical safety of school buildings.”

Grant dollars are divided into two categories: the Primary School Safety Grant and Advanced School Safety Grant. The Primary School Safety Grants focus on baseline improvements to schools, including door locks and hardening school entryways. The Advanced School Safety Grants are awarded to schools that have met minimum security thresholds.

In addition to making upgrades to school buildings, one of the School Safety Grant prerequisites is providing all full-time teachers, aides, counselors, and administrators with a minimum of three hours combined training in Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) and Trauma Informed Care/Trauma Sensitive Schools (TIC/TSS) before the end of the 2018-2019 school year; or demonstrate that staff has already received such training.

Some of the ways grant funds can be used include:

  • Training for all staff on Trauma Informed Care (TIC), Trauma Sensitive Schools (TSS), Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE), Violence and Bullying Prevention, and Active Shooter Response training (ALICE).
  • Increasing two-way communications throughout the entire school through handheld radios, emergency communication system and PA systems equipped with new speakers.
  • Purchasing an anonymous reporting application.
  • Updating internal classroom and entrances with locks that lock from the inside, including adding quick action locking devices/remote lockdown and removable mullions.
  • Enhancing security software to include door prop recognitions that alerts staff, and panic button
  • Improving visitor screening and entryways through adding key card/keyless access, access control door entry system and visitor management systems.
  • Allowing for more secure entrances to receiving docks, a performing arts box office, and fitness centers.
  • Securing the entry areas, sidelites, and interior classroom windows with shatter resistant film and updated doors.
  • Labeling entry and classroom doors so that first responders can identify a specific area.

“Our $100 million School Safety Plan is helping schools across Wisconsin become more secure,” Governor Scott Walker said. “It is important we all continue to work together to make sure every teacher, parent, and student feels safe in our schools.”

Grant applicants are required to partner with law enforcement agencies to ensure that proposed expenditures, visitor protocols, and school safety plans will be effective and provide students with the safest learning environment possible.

This was the fourth announcement about school safety grants. Nineteen schools or districts, including Madison Metropolitan, Cambridge and McFarland, were awarded more than $1.9 million on June 20. The next day, Schimel announced that 14 schools or districts were awarded more than $1.7 million. Another $10.2 million was awarded to 147 schools or districts on June 28.

In all, 735 schools or school districts applied for funds from the School Safety Program.