School systems across the United States have been waiting for a long time for dedicated funding for school safety grants to become available at the federal level. The good news is, the funding is now available. The bad news is grant applications are due on July 30th, 2018 by 7:59 pm EDT.
Announced shortly before the July 4th holiday, this a significantly shorter runway than is typically seen for a brand new grant program. Said grant application experts Ashley Schultz and Elizabeth Evans of the Grants Office, LLC, have seen. “We were surprised by the short window for applications,” they shared, “but we’re very pleased to see more funding from Congress going to this important issue, and particularly because its focused on prevention.”
While there were some school safety grants available during the Obama administration, they focused primarily on reactions to violence and were targeted at the highest risk schools. The School Violence Prevention Program (SVPP) moves the focus to prevention of violence by funding training for school personnel and law enforcement, the acquisition of deterrents such as metal detectors, video surveillance equipment, and communications equipment to name just a few of areas eligible for grant funding.
Funding is available to all communities, including Indian Tribes and rural communities, and not just communities considered at high risk of violence. Despite the name of the grant, school districts are not eligible to apply directly to the program. Applications need to be submitted by a state, tribe, or local government and, from there, school districts are able to receive SVPP funding through sub-awards. Schultz and Evans, however, strongly encourage school districts to talk with a state, tribe, or local governments about the grants.
And finally, Schultz and Evans offered reassurance to those who will likely not be able to take advantage of this year’s funding cycle. “The timeline this year is incredibly short with just over four weeks from announcement to due date,” said Evans. Schultz added that while there’s a lack of clarity about where the SVPP will go from here that “Congress has allocated $100M in funding each year until 2028 and state governments are also funding school safety grants, including New Jersey’s proposed $500 million bond.”
Here’s what you need to know:
What: School Violence Prevention Program
Funded by: Community Oriented Policing Services, Department of Justice
For: Technology, hardware, and training to prevent school violence
Awards: $25 million is available program wide. SVPP will provide up to 75% of an approved program or technology/hardware purchase.
Award Length: 24 months