HARRISBURG – Gov. Tom Corbett and Sen. Joe Scarnati (R-Jefferson) have announced that $3.9 million has been awarded to 81 schools and municipalities for the placement of school resource officers and school police officers in schools across Pennsylvania.
“The safety of our children is of the utmost concern to me, Senator Scarnati and members of the General Assembly,” Corbett said. ”This funding is the first step in providing schools with resources to ensure our students are learning in a safe and secure environment.”
Created through legislation authored by Scarnati and signed into law last year by Corbett, the grant program provides funding for programs to address school violence and security.
“Recent acts of violence have shown that we clearly need to do everything within our ability to keep students and teachers safe in their learning environments,” Scarnati said. ”I am grateful to Governor Corbett and my colleagues in the Senate and House of Representatives for their support in expanding and enhancing the Safe Schools Grant Program for our commonwealth. These grants announced today will provide financial assistance for school resource officers and school police officers while allowing for local decision making, in order to provide the greatest level of security possible at our schools.”
Eligible schools and municipalities could apply for up to $60,000 for a school resource officer and up to $40,000 for a school police officer. Grantees are required to fund the officer’s position for at least two years. Pending available funding for the 2014-15 school year, grantees will be eligible to receive 50 percent of their 2013-14 award without reapplying.
With consent of a school entity, municipalities awarded a grant are required to assign school resource officers to schools within the municipality.
A total of 114 applications were received and reviewed based on guidelines of the grant program. Priority for funding was given to schools and municipalities that employ officers who have completed additional training related to interaction with children and adolescents within a school setting.
Editor’s note: A list of grantees and award amounts can be accessed by visiting www.education.state.pa.us and clicking on the “SRO/SPO Grant Awards” icon.