Gov. Reynolds announces $100 million in school safety funding

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(ABC 6 News) – Tuesday, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds announced she’s dedicating $100 million toward school safety measures.

A press release by the Officer of the Governor of Iowa reads:

Governor Kim Reynolds announced $100 million in school safety funding to support Iowa’s 327 public school districts and 183 non-public and independent schools during a press conference with the Department of Public Safety, Department of Education, Homeland Security, and Emergency Management.

This dedicated new funding will provide vulnerability risk assessments free of charge for all 1,500 K-12 school buildings in the state and create a School Safety Improvement Fund making up to $50,000 available per school building to implement recommended safety measures. School districts can combine these funds with their ESSER funding allocations to cover additional costs to implement safety improvements.

“Every family should be able to confidently send their children to school knowing they’ll be safe,” said Gov. Reynolds. “These investments will make a tremendous impact on our ability to prevent violence in schools while also taking steps to ensure schools and communities are in the best position possible to respond to an active event.”

The funding also builds upon the foundation of the Governor’s School Safety Bureau to support all schools and law enforcement partners with the prevention, training, and response strategies. A portion of the funding will be utilized to implement technology and tools including proactive social media scanning software, an anonymous reporting tool, digital critical incident mapping, and specialized training.

“The Governor’s School Safety Bureau will provide Iowa with an intentional focus on providing assistance and tools to identify, report, and assess school-based threats, while still embracing local control,” said Iowa Department of Public Safety Commissioner Stephan Bayens. “It will facilitate training so that teachers, administrators, and first responders are equipped and empowered to keep our kids safe. The Bureau will work shoulder to shoulder with all involved for the common good of providing a safe place for our children to learn and grow.”

“Mass shootings and other violent acts committed against innocent people are difficult to understand,” said Gov. Reynolds “But work must be done to answer the question why they happen and what can be done to prevent this type of behavior.”

Prioritizing mental health services across Iowa has been a top priority for Governor Reynolds since taking office and has received strong bipartisan support. When Iowa’s FY23 budget goes into effect on July 1, 2022, total mental health-related funding will increase by nearly $3.5 million dollars.

“We must be persistent in our efforts to keep students and those who care for them safe from violence,” said Iowa Department of Education Director Ann Lebo. “Our schools provide a reassuring presence and much-needed connection for our families, our communities, and for our students to learn and grow. With this additional funding, we can build on our strong foundation and help ensure our schools continue to be physically, emotionally, and academically safe places of learning.”

The Governor’s School Safety Bureau will immediately begin its work with the goal of being fully operational by the start of school this fall.

Breakdown of funds:

$75M – School Safety Improvement Fund

$7.5M – Vulnerability assessments for all 1,500 K-12 school buildings

$6M – Digital critical incident mapping technology

$4.5M — Radios for schools

$1.5M — Digital applications and software for reporting and intelligence

$5.5M — School Safety Bureau operations funding through 2026

Initial funding is being made available through the use of ARPA and ESSER funds.