$12 Million in School Security Equipment Grants announced

Published 8:00 am Saturday, January 8, 2022

The Virginia Department of Education announced $12 million in state School Security Equipment Grants to protect students, faculty and visitors in 583 schools in 93 school divisions on Dec. 30. The grants will pay for video monitoring systems, voice and video internal communications systems, school bus interior cameras, mass notification systems, visitor-identification systems, access control systems, two-way radios, security vestibules and other security upgrades.

“The health and safety of students and school staff is paramount,” said Superintendent of Public Instruction James Lane. “These grants are an important part of equipping schools with the systems necessary to mitigate security risks, detect threats and connect schools with first responders. The commonwealth continues to lead the nation in proactively addressing school safety as VDOE works in partnership with other state agencies and local school divisions to keep students, faculty and visitors safe in our schools.”

The criteria for making the awards — developed by VDOE and the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services — give priority to schools most in need of modern security equipment, schools with relatively high numbers of offenses, schools with equipment needs identified by a school security audit, and schools in divisions least able to afford security upgrades. The divisions in the area awarded grants are as follows:

• Amelia County — $28,800 for Amelia County High and Amelia County Middle

• Appomattox County — $105,600 for Appomattox County High, Appomattox Elementary, Appomattox Middle and Appomattox Primary.

• Charlotte County — $133,440 for Bacon District Elementary, Central Middle, Eureka Elementary, Phenix Elementary and Randolph-Henry High.

• Cumberland County — $132,124 for Cumberland Elementary, Cumberland High and Cumberland Middle.

• Fluvanna County — $161,367 for Carysbrook Elementary, Central Elementary, Fluvanna County High and Fluvanna Middle.

• Goochland County — $3,691 for Goochland Middle.

• Lunenburg County — $51,580 for Central High, Kenbridge Elementary, Lunenburg Middle and Victoria Elementary.

• Mecklenburg County — $192,000 for Alternative Education Center, Chase City Elementary, Clarksville Elementary, LaCrosse Elementary and South Hill Elementary.

Middlesex County — $216,420 for Middlesex Elementary, Middlesex High and St. Clare Walker Middle.

• Prince Edward County — $93,626 for Prince Edward County High.

A local match of 25% is required of most divisions. Three school divisions with composite indices of local-ability-to-pay of less than 0.2 — Buena Vista, Lee County and Scott County — are exempt from the local-match requirement.

The 2019 Appropriation Act doubled the total annual appropriation for the grant program — effective in 2020 — from $6 million, to $12 million. The 2019 General Assembly also approved Governor Ralph Northam’s proposal to increase the maximum award per school division — also effective in 2020 — from $100,000, to $250,000.

The School Security Equipment Grants program was established by the 2013 General Assembly in the aftermath of the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut.