More than $10 million approved for school security
CONCORD, NH — The Joint Legislative Fiscal Committee on Friday approved a request from the New Hampshire Department of Education’s Bureau of School Safety and Facility Management to allocate about $10 million in federal money to continue making security improvements for all schools in the state.
With its approval, up to $10,260,000 from the American Rescue Plan Act State Fiscal Recovery Fund (through the Governor’s Office for Emergency Relief and Recovery) will be distributed to public and non-public schools using the Public School Infrastructure Fund process previously established.
“School safety is neither reactionary nor an afterthought in New Hampshire, and keeping our children safe is the absolute number one priority,” said Frank Edelblut, education commissioner. “A significant investment has been made to improve, secure and enhance school safety throughout the state, which has been a priority for a number of years and has resulted in substantial advancements. School districts have made great strides to produce safe and secure learning environments, expand preparedness resources, implement new technologies and offer training – all to ensure that children and adults are safe in their schools.”
While NHED continues to seek additional federal funds for school safety, the newly approved $10 million to support school security projects is a vital step toward these ongoing efforts. Proposed projects that will address the greatest risks will be prioritized for future funding.
“The safety of our schools, their students and their staff is priceless,” said Jennifer Harper, director of the New Hampshire Department of Safety’s Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. “Our School Readiness Program works with school communities across the state every day to ensure they are implementing proper, up-to-date safety measures. I applaud the Joint Legislative Fiscal Committee for approving these funds to provide schools with the money they need to act on those measures.”
The Public School Infrastructure Commission process was established in 2018. The fund has since awarded about $27.7 million to implement 619 security and infrastructure projects. It is anticipated that, thanks to the additional $10 million in funding approved on Friday, an estimated 250 awards will be distributed, ranging from $40,000 to $50,000 for school safety initiatives statewide.
“Ensuring kids are safe in school has been a priority of this administration for years, and this latest $10 million investment into school safety reaffirms our commitment to keeping students safe in the classroom,” said Governor Chris Sununu. “From our historic school safety taskforce to our initial first-of-its-kind $30 million fund to strengthen security in our schools, New Hampshire remains a leader in school safety investments.”