$100 Million in Safety Grants Soon Available to Ohio Schools
The capital appropriations bill known as Substitute House Bill 687 of the 134th General Assembly was signed by Governor DeWine in June and created an appropriation entitled ARPA School Security which designated $100,000,000 in federal American Rescue Plan Act funding for school safety grants. Each school district may apply for grants up to $100,000 per building for security measures and physical safety upgrades in and around school buildings such as visitor badging systems, school radio systems, exterior lights, security training, door locking systems and other physical safety needs.
Nearly $47 million of the available $100 million will be allocated to schools who applied for the School Safety Grant Program last year but did not receive funding due to insufficient funds. The remaining $53 million in funds will be awarded as part of the K-12 School Safety Grant Program administered by the Ohio School Safety Center (OSSC) in partnership with the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission (OFCC), which will begin accepting applications in the coming weeks.
A synopsis of the OFCC-approved guidelines for this program can be found below, or click here to review the entire document.
Synopsis of ARPA school security grants guidelines from Ohio Facilities Construction Commission
Eligible public-school districts and chartered nonpublic schools may be awarded grants of up to $100,000 per school building.
The program will support building enhancements and equipment to meet or exceed a baseline level of safety, consistent with Tier 1 of “Safety and Security Guidelines for K-12 Schools” created by the Partner Alliance for Safer Schools (PASS).
Eligible schools include the following:
- any school operated by the board of education of a city, local, exempted village, or joint vocational school district
- any community school established under Chapter 3314 of the Revised Code
- any STEM school established under Chapter 3326 of the Revised Code or
- any non-public school chartered by the State Board of Education pursuant to section 3301.07 of the Revised Code.
An eligible building or classroom facility:
- has not had construction completed within the prior five years under any of the programs authorized under Chapter 3318 of the Revised Code, and
- has not received grant funding under the School Safety Grant Program established in S.B. 310 of the 133rd General Assembly and funded by appropriation item C23020, School Safety Grant Program.
Eligible security improvements include the following:
- a physical security enhancement, equipment, inspection, and screening equipment, or other expenditure included on the Authorized Equipment List (AEL) for this grant program
- reasonable professional design services required to complete/accomplish the work
- reasonable installation and labor
Work NOT eligible for reimbursement includes the following:
- any work completed before January 1, 2022
- any work not procured in accordance with federal procurement guidelines
- design or consulting fees more than 15 percent of the grant amount
- vulnerability assessment costs
- fees paid to independent consultants or sub-contractors to prepare or submit the grant application
- any associated personnel costs by the school or district
Applicants must have an OSSC Security and Vulnerability Assessment (SVA) as prescribed for this grant program conducted by experienced security, law enforcement, or military personnel. In some cases, a previously submitted SVA may be used.
Eligible schools that applied for, but did not receive, funding under the S.B. 310 School Safety Grant Program may be afforded the option of an expedited grant award under this program.
Individual schools within a public school district must collaborate on one single application. A district shall apply on behalf of the eligible schools in its district.
The program schedule, including application deadlines and anticipated award announcements, will be determined by Commission staff in consultation with the OSSC and posted to the Commission’s website.
Awards are subject to availability of funds. The Executive Director reserves the right to offer grant awards in the entire amount of the application or for a lesser amount at their sole discretion. All award decisions are final and are not subject to appeal.
Work shall be contracted for by December 31, 2023, and completed by September 30, 2024, unless otherwise approved by Commission staff.
A link to the grant application portal as well as additional information about this school safety gran program can be found here.
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