Columbus, OH -- Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced on Nov 28th, that the state will support the installation of security upgrades at more than 700 K-12 schools across Ohio.
A total of 708 schools in 57 counties will receive $57.8 million in grant funding to enhance student and staff safety. Governor DeWine is awarding the funds as part of his K-12 School Safety Grant Program, which helps schools with physical security expenses, such as new security cameras, public address systems, automatic door locks, visitor badging systems, and exterior lighting.
"We are being proactive in keeping our schools safe in Ohio. Student and staff safety is paramount,” said Governor DeWine. “These safety grants are helping schools create environments that are secure and welcoming for teachers and their students."
MORE: Full List of 708 Schools Approved for Grant Funding
On Nov 28th's announcement represents the third round of grants awarded as part of the Ohio K-12 School Safety Grant Program. In the first round, $5 million in state funding was awarded to 95 schools in 27 counties. Governor DeWine then partnered with the Ohio General Assembly to increase funding for the program by an additional $100 million, and he announced the availability of the second round of funding in August, totaling $42.2 million for 1,065 schools.
The remaining $57.8 million in grants announced on Nov 28th, are being awarded through a competitive process to public school districts and chartered non-public schools, with a maximum award of $100,000 per school. The grant program is administered by the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission in partnership with the Ohio School Safety Center.
“School safety plays a crucial role in the academic success of students,” said Cheryl J. Lyman, executive director of the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission. “Students who do not feel safe at school cannot learn to their fullest potential.”
Governor DeWine created the Ohio School Safety Center in 2019 to assist local schools, colleges and universities, and law enforcement agencies to prevent, prepare for, and respond to threats and acts of violence, including self-harm, through a holistic, solutions-based approach to improving school safety.
Governor DeWine has also worked to protect school students and staff through additional violent crime reduction strategies and enhanced mental health services, including:
Enhancing School Security
- Governor DeWine worked with the Ohio General Assembly to create the Ohio Campus Safety Grant Program for institutions of higher education and the Ohio Safety and Security Grant Program for chartered nonpublic schools, licensed preschools, nonprofit organizations, and religious institutions.
- Governor DeWine created the Ohio School Safety Working Group consisting of experts in the fields of public safety, education, mental health, emergency management, and others. The group meets quarterly to discuss school safety issues, trends, and local needs.
Encouraging Student Wellness
- Governor DeWine created the Student Wellness and Success Fund, a $1.2 billion investment that is now a part of the school funding formula, to provide wraparound services to students. Wraparound services are programming and supports meant to build skills and fulfill a student or familial need. To date, this funding has launched 1,300 mental health programs and trained 6,500 educators and school professionals.
- After hearing about the need for more accessible mental health services for students on college campuses, Governor DeWine led the nation with a $13.5 million investment to expand mental health services for higher education students.
Strengthening Ohio’s Mental Health Workforce
- As part of his Wellness Workforce Initiative, Governor DeWine announced a plan to invest $85 million, with the help of the General Assembly, to expand Ohio’s behavioral health workforce to meet the need.
Reducing Violent Crime
- Governor DeWine worked with the Ohio General Assembly to invest $250 million in Ohio’s law enforcement agencies and first responders.
- Governor DeWine created the Ohio Ballistics Testing Initiative to double the number of National Integrated Ballistic Information Network units in Ohio to help law enforcement identify criminals responsible for deadly shootings and other incidents of gun violence in Ohio.
- Governor DeWine created the Ohio Crime Lab Efficiency Program to eliminate backlogs in the testing of criminal evidence at Ohio’s certified crime labs across the state with the goal of returning evidence test results back to law enforcement faster.
- Governor DeWine created the Ohio Violent Crime Reduction Grant Program to provide funding to local law enforcement agencies to help them implement new violent crime reduction strategies in their communities.
- Governor DeWine directed the Ohio State Highway Patrol to assist local law enforcement with “surge operations” designed to interdict gun violence and repossess stolen or illegally possessed guns.
- Governor DeWine created the eWarrant system, a statewide criminal justice database to improve the accuracy of state and federal background checks and streamline the process to file warrants and protection orders in Ohio.