School leaders thank legislators for fundingScott Rothschild
Appearing before legislative budget leaders, school officials on Wednesday thanked them for both the $5 million in safety grants and the overall increase in K-12 funding provided in the 2018 legislative session.
Tim Hallacy, superintendent of Silver Lake USD 372, said the $13,268 state matching school safety and security grant allowed the district to purchase locks, cameras and protective film for windows.
Hallacy added that the five-year $500 million school funding plan, also approved by the Legislature last session, allowed Silver Lake to add another social worker who will help provide students with mental health support and interventions.
“While all these projects and improvements will help to make our campus safer, we are confident the most effective improvement to our security and student well-being came with the added position of a social worker this year,” Hallacy told the Legislative Budget Committee, which was reviewing implementation of the grants.
“We are grateful for both the Safe and Secure Grant and additional funding which have made these improvements possible,” he said.
Seaman USD 345 Superintendent Steve Noble said the district received $19,000 in matching funds under the safety grant. The funds were used to purchase security cameras and lockdown door magnets. But Noble added that will take more than security equipment to keep students safe. He said educators must continue to make connections with students.
Wichita USD 259, the state’s largest district, received $922,613 and used the funds for securing entries, locks and cameras. Teri Moses, director of safety and environmental services for Wichita schools, said the district has made school safety for students, parents, staff and the community one of its long-term goals.
Grants were awarded to 156 of the state’s 286 school districts. Districts requested $13.2 million in funding. Deputy Education Commissioner Dale Dennis said every district that applied received grant funding under a formula put together by the Kansas State Department of Education.
Dennis said the state tried to award the grants as quickly as possible so the districts would have their improvements in place when the school year started.
Legislators indicated they will probably consider funding more safety grants in 2019.