Michigan schools can soon apply for school safety grants

MARESA and Marquette Area Public Schools say the funding would help pay professional inspectors to assess building safety
Once the Michigan Department of Education confirms the application process, eligible schools will have until September 2023 to allocate the funds.
Published: Jun. 15, 2022 at 4:43 PM EDT
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MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - Schools across Michigan will get money from the state to assess building safety.

The shootings in Oxford and Uvalde have once again made school safety top-of-mind for state legislators and educators. Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed a bill last week, allocating $97,000,000 to school security. Schools will be able to apply for $2,000 per building, which would be used to pay professional inspectors to assess building safety.

“The intent here is for this grant money to assist school district administrators in identifying weak points in terms of keeping their buildings safe and secure,” said MARESA Superintendent Dr. Greg Nyen.

With only one certified and credentialed inspector in the U.P., Nyen also said it is important for all eligible U.P. schools to receive funding. The application process isn’t finalized, but district superintendents will eventually be able to apply on behalf of qualifying buildings in their districts.

Marquette Area Public Schools Superintendent Zack Sedgwick said the opportunity is “encouraging.”

“All of our buildings have different needs, different layouts, and different populations. To have somebody come in and help us differentiate the needs of the different buildings would be fairly expensive,” Sedgwick said.

Over time, MAPS has made its buildings more secure through single entry points and electric key fobs. However, Sedgwick said his schools are still in need of security updates.

“The more we can do, as far as looking at this comprehensively as a community function, I think the better off we’ll be because identifying whatever a ‘threat’ is goes well beyond just what we can do within the school walls,” said Sedgwick.

Nyen hopes the state soon takes things further.

“It would be logical to, as a next step by the state, then provide the funding necessary to address those safety areas,” Nyen said.

Once the Michigan Department of Education confirms the application process, eligible schools will have until September 2023 to allocate the funds for their safety assessments.

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