Thu, Jan 19, 2023 4:33 PM
By Bruce Walker, The Center Square
Michigan schools are beefing up security with 195 school resource officers, one each for the state's 195 school districts, intermediate school districts, and public-school academies.
Taxpayers will supply the $25 million funding over the next three years.
Although some districts will receive up to $200,000 to employ SROs, others such as Central Lake in Antrim County will receive as little as $18,315. Genesee County garnered approximately $2.2 million in total SRO grants.
Districts receiving at least $200,000 include Atherton Community Schools in Genesee County; Comstock Public Schools in Kalamazoo County; Haslett Public Schools in Ingham County; Oakland Schools in Oakland County; Okemos Public Schools in Ingham County; Oak Park School District in Oakland County; Swan Valley School District in Saginaw County; West Shore Educational Service District in Mason County; Waverly Community Schools in Eaton County; and St. Joseph Schools in Berrien County.
A complete list of schools and funding received can be found here.
According to a release, the program will improve safety and security for more than 334,000 students.
“Every parent wants their kids to be safe at school,” Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said in a statement. “These grants will help us hire almost 200 more school resource officers so we can make sure our children, teachers, and staff are safe at school. Let’s keep working together to make record investments in our students and improve their classroom experience, build up school infrastructure, hire excellent educators, and invest in their comprehensive well-being, from mental health to safety.”
The grants will be administered by the Michigan State Police Grants and Community Services Division, and were determined by a panel consisting of education and law-enforcement professional. Considerations for the grants included prioritizing districts with lower enrollment and less per pupils funding. A 50% match is required to be provided bye applicant jurisdiction.
“These grant awards will not only help to provide better safety in our school buildings by increasing the number of schools throughout the state with at least one SRO, but very importantly, by prioritizing smaller schools in more remote areas, we will reduce the time it takes for a police response in the event of an emergency,” said Col. Joe Gasper, director of the state police.
Money for risk assessments and critical incidence mapping was part of House Bill 6012, which was signed into law last June.
The bill also delivered $10 million to Oxford Community Schools, which endured a school shooting in November 2021. The funds will be used for personnel and additional student supports, including psychologists, family liaisons, mental health staff, school security, additional learning time, legal fees, and the physical restoration of a school building.
Legislators also passed an education budget that included $210 million for school safety measures and an additional $250 million for student mental health needs.