The Indiana Secured School Safety Board recently approved more than $14 million in matching grants to enhance school security by allowing local school corporations to add resource officers, equipment and conduct threat assessments.

Locally awarded for fiscal year 2019 were $50,000 to Warsaw Community School Corp., $50,000 to Wawasee Community School Corp., $32,000 to Lakeland Christian Academy, $50,000 to Tippecanoe Valley School Corp., $24,000 to Triton School Corp., $30,000 to Manchester Community Schools and $50,000 to Whitko Community Schools.

School corporations, charter schools or coalitions with an average daily membership of at least 1,000 can apply for grants up to $50,000 per year. Schools with membership of less than 1,000 can apply for grants up to $35,000 per year. The grants are evaluated and administered by the Indiana Secured School Safety Board, according to the Indiana Department of Homeland Security website.

During the board meeting, applications were approved for 388 schools that qualified for the Secured School Safety Grant program. Each school must produce a 50 percent match to qualify, according to a news release from the IDHS on Monday.

“Indiana continues to be national leader in the safety and preparedness of our schools,” said Bryan Langley, board chair and executive director of the IDHS. “With support from Governor Holcomb and legislators, this funding will help continue that trend to support schools as they plan and implement safety measures that protect students, educators, administrators and visitors.”

The funds include an additional $5 million approved by the Indiana General Assembly at the governor’s request.

A news release Tuesday from Warsaw Community Schools said WCS will use its $50,000 to assist in providing overall security for its 13 buildings through the use of school resource officers.

As part of the 2017-18 IDHS Safety Grant, WCS's SROs conducted a thorough safety audit at each building in order to determine needs related to safety and security of building and grounds for the school interior (security, aesthetics, Raptor, emergency notification systems, lighting, interior doors, interior signage, crisis /first aid kits and AEDs), school exterior (aesthetics, points of entry, parking areas, play areas, exterior signage, landscaping and lights) and global impressions



.

In addition to the safety audit, the Warsaw Safety Team also reviewed current and updated social and emotional data for the 2017-18 school year in order to determine student and building-level needs, the release stated. A team of mental health therapists, special education personnel and counselors completed the School Health Assessment and Performance Evaluation assessment in order to determine quality and sustainability of our school mental health services.

"We are pleased to learn that we have again received the Indiana Department of Homeland Security Secured School Safety grant,” said Dr. David Robertson, WCS chief academic officer. “The funds we receive through this grant will be used to continue to strengthen our partnerships with local law enforcement agencies through the continued implementation of our school resource officer program and facility upgrades. The goal of Warsaw Community Schools is to ensure the safety and welfare of all, and partnerships with organizations like the Department of Homeland Security and our local law enforcement agencies greatly assists in working toward our goals."

The Indiana Secured School Safety Grant program has provided more than $53 million since 2014 to enhance safety and security in schools.

Award letters were sent this month to school administrators.

The Indiana Secured Schools Safety Board is administered by IDHS.