Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey is encouraging schools in Hillsdale, Jackson, and Branch counties to apply for the Competitive School Safety Grant Program.
According to a statement from policy analysts provided by Shirkey’s office, the CSSGP is a program within the Michigan State Police that has been around since 2015. The program has awarded funds in the fiscal years of 2015, 2017, 2018 and will again in 2019.
Superintendent of Jonesville Community Schools Chellie Broesamle said Jonesville Community Schools received funds from the grant in 2018 and has also applied for the grant again this year.
With the funds Jonesville Community Schools received last year, Broesamle said all of the schools within the district are implementing the “The Boot: Door Barricade and School Safety System.”
Under this system, each door has a metal plate in front of the door which can withstand thousands of pounds of pressure so intruders cannot kick doors down.
“This will fortify the doors, and it’s also Bluetooth-connected to the police and fire departments and EMS,” Broesamle said. “It automatically contacts them and tells where anything has taken place. They can use it to determine if gunshots were fired and what type of gun was used.”
In addition to these features, Broesamle said the system alerts all teachers to lock down their doors.
Broesmale also said each entry-door will have ballistic shields.
“They’re silver, and they’ll say ‘Jonesville Schools’ on them,” Broesamle said. “They’ll also keep bullets from being able to get through and break the glass.”
Jonesville Community Schools has installed film on many of its doorways.
“We can see out, but people can’t see in,” Broesamle said.
In December 2018, the Michigan Legislature invested $25 million into the CSSGP to help improve the safety and security of school buildings through the purchase of technology and equipment and through school building safety assessments.
“As recent events have increased the focus on the security of school facilities, the demand has significantly increased,” policy analysts said. “We have funded the program on a level that has a more significant statewide impact.”
Policy analysts said the grants are funded through one-time appropriations from the general fund. and grant applications are reviewed by a committee.
“The committee includes representatives from the Michigan State Police, Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police, Michigan Sheriffs’ Association, Michigan Department of Education, Michigan Association of Non-Public Schools, school security personnel and the Executive Office of the Governor,” policy analysts said.
Both public and private schools are eligible to receive funds from the grant. School districts and regional education agencies can also receive grants.
The application period for the second round of school safety grants is open until March 1. Grants will be awarded no later than April 1, 2019. Schools who receive grants will have until June 1, 2020 to complete their projects.
“Over the years, schools who receive an award generally have one year to seek reimbursement for their eligible projects,” policy analysts said.
In October 2018, the Michigan State Police awarded grants from the program to 188 schools, school districts, and regional education agencies throughout the state.
“Overall, we’re in a very safe community,” Broesamle said. “We’re excited about the opportunity and glad the police department is helping to find ways to help keep us safe.”