Kansas giving out $5M in security funds to schools; 2 districts ask to buy guns
photo by: Kansas State Department of Education
Story updated 5:27 p.m. July 17, 2018:
TOPEKA — Kansas is distributing $5 million in state grants to beef up security and improve safety at schools in more than 150 districts.
The state Department of Education began distributing the grants Monday for new doors, windows, security cameras, intercoms and other safety features at schools. The appropriations authorized by lawmakers must be matched by districts submitting requests to the state Board of Education, the Topeka Capital-Journal reported .
A total of 153 public school districts have sought $13 million in grants, with a formula devised to bring grant awards within budget.
Two districts originally proposed part of their funding be used to buy firearms, but those requests were eventually removed.
“Representatives from the partnering agencies on this project agreed that state funds should not be used to purchase firearms,” said Denise Kahler, spokeswoman for the Education Department.
Kahler said the Lawrence school district was awarded its full grant request of $168,549. The grant requires the district provide the same amount in matching dollars.
According to the district’s grant request filed with the Department of Education, the district will spend $134,773 from the grant to replace 321 video cameras and and operating software and $26,275 on ALICE active shooter response training and certification. ALICE stands for “alert, lockdown, inform, counter and evacuate.”
The district application also stated that $7,500 of the grant funds will be used to purchase crisis kits for 750 classrooms. The application says each kit will contain a five-gallon bucket, snacks, water, age-appropriate activities, class rosters, flashlights and first aid supplies.
The largest grant recipient was Wichita’s district, which received $922,600 from a $1.2 million request. The Healy district received the smallest amount, at just more than $1,000.
The Education Department has been committed to giving the money to K-12 districts since early in the fiscal year began July 1, said Dale Dennis, deputy commissioner of education. He said the object was to allow security enhancements to take place as quickly as possible.
“The districts were really pretty sensible,” Dennis said. “It’s important we get the money out there and working rather than sit in Topeka.”