Sen. Gresham announces over $1 million in grants for school districts to improve school safety

(NASHVILLE) – Today Senator Dolores Gresham (R-Somerville) announced over $1 million in state grants for school districts she represents to improve school safety and security. These grants include $302,140 in Safe School grants, which are recurring funds and $755,340 in School Safety and Security grants, which are one-time funds. This year the General Assembly included $35 million in the 2018/2019 state budget for school safety, following recommendations from Governor Haslam’s School Safety Working Group in which Gresham was a member.

“Our students deserve to work and learn in an environment where they feel safe, and I am pleased to see this funding going to schools in my district,” said Gresham. “Because different school districts have different needs to properly address school safety, in the School Safety Working Group we recommended districts receive funds after a security assessment identified their specific areas of need.”

In order to apply for grant funding, local school officials partnered with the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security, the Department of Education, and local law enforcement to complete safety assessments for school facilities and safety procedures. This was the first time the state led a comprehensive effort to determine the security needs at individual schools. Based on the findings following this assessment, all school districts were eligible to apply for two grants to receive funding for local safety and security needs.

The grants for Senate District 26:

  • Chester County is receiving $35,430 in recurring funds and $88,580 in non-recurring funds to address access control and School Resource Officer (SRO) as identified areas of need;
  • Decatur County is receiving $19,000 in recurring funds and $47,490 in non-recurring funds to address perimeter control, visitor management, and emergency planning as identified areas of need;
  • Fayette County is receiving $33,810 in recurring funds and $84,520 in non-recurring funds to address signage, visitor management, and surveillance as areas of need;
  • Hardeman County is receiving $44,020 in recurring funds and $110,060 in non-recurring funds to address access control, visitor management and SRO as identified areas of need;
  • Hardin County is receiving $32,100 in recurring funds and $80,240 in non-recurring funds to address surveillance and SRO as identified areas of need;
  •  Haywood County is receiving $32,660 in recurring funds and $81,640 in non-recurring funds to address visitor management, communication, and training as identified areas of need;
  • Henderson County is receiving $45,490 in recurring funds and $113,730  in non-recurring funds to address perimeter, signage, surveillance, and SRO as identified areas of need;
  • Lexington Schools is receiving $9,850 in recurring funds and $24,630 in non-recurring funds to address surveillance and emergency planning as identified areas of need; and
  • McNairy County is receiving $49,780 in recurring funds and $124,450 in non-recurring funds to address signage, access control, and communication as identified areas of need.

Additionally, as a result of the working group recommendations, the Department of Safety and Homeland Security is working to secure a developer to complete a statewide school safety mobile application. The application will be designed for use by students, faculty and staff to anonymously report concerning or suspicious behavior to local law enforcement and school officials.

“I appreciate the work of local officials for securing these funds and promptly completing assessments with the Department of Safety and Homeland Security and the Department of Education. These grants will enhance the learning environment of all students and I look forward to continuing the conversation of how to best improve the safety and security of our schools,” added Gresham.

Senator Gresham serves as the Chairman of the Senate Education Committee and as a member of the Commerce and Labor Committee and the Energy, Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee. She represents Senate District 26 which is comprised of Haywood, Fayette, Hardeman, Chester, McNairy, Hardin, Decatur and Henderson Counties. Gresham and her husband Will live on their farm in Fayette County.

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