Several area schools receive safety grants
ADDISON COUNTY — Thirteen area towns and school districts will receive school safety grants ranging from $959 to $25,000 to better protect their students from potential acts of violence.
The grants are being carved from a $5 million funding package recommended by Gov. Phil Scott and passed by the Legislature this past spring. In all, 239 Vermont schools will share around $4 million, which districts will use during the 2018-2019 academic year for such things as new interior and exterior door locks, indoor and outdoor public address systems and other infrastructure upgrades to boost safety.
In addition to the $4 million for building/campus safety improvements announced last week, the state will make another $1 million available this fall to support schools in developing emergency plans, training and safety exercises.
“Getting these projects started quickly will help students, staff and administrators focus on learning,” Scott said through a press release announcing the grants. “Looking ahead, we will continue to do all we can to enhance the safety of our schools for our children, parents, faculty and the community, including leveraging $1 million from the Homeland Security Grant Program to support planning and training, and working with the Legislature to fund additional infrastructure improvements and preparedness across the entire education system.”
Here, in alphabetical order, is the list of Addison County schools that will receive school safety grants:
• New Haven’s Beeman Elementary: $25,000.
• Bridport Central: $20,999.
• Bristol Elementary: $15,000.
• Leicester Central: $25,000.
• Lincoln Community: $15,000
• Middlebury’s Mary Hogan Elementary: $25,000.
• Orwell Village School: $959.
• Otter Valley Union Main Campus: $25,000.
• Otter Valley Union Middle and High Schools: $19,500.
• Patricia A. Hannaford Career Center: $21,677.
• Ripton Elementary: $6,591.
• Salisbury Community School: $25,000.
• Shoreham Elementary School: $23,042.
• Weybridge Elementary: $18,960.
Schools were eligible for up to $25,000 and will be responsible for a 25 percent grant match. The average school safety grant award was around $16,000.
Six Addison Central School District (ACSD) elementary schools made the list of safety grant recipients. ACSD Business Manager Brittany Gilman said Bridport, Cornwall, Salisbury, Shoreham, and Weybridge will get “access control systems” and exterior cameras, thanks to the money. Mary Hogan School will get exterior cameras. Ripton Elementary already has cameras and will thus focus on getting an access control system, which Gilman said typically involve a key-scan being installed at entrances so employees can enter using an access card.
In some cases, an access control system also involves a video intercom station so visitors can hit a button at the front door to request entrance. Someone in the main office can see the visitors on a screen and communicate with them before pressing a release button that automatically opens the front door.
The ACSD applied unsuccessfully for a grant that would have funded a “greeter” to staff the front entrance of Middlebury Union High School. Also rejected was the district’s funding pitch for folding wall panels to separate the Middlebury Union Middle School gym and cafeteria. The MUMS wall panels would have included a pass-through area, auto closure and a keyed lock to help safeguard students in the cafeteria in the event of an incident, according to Gilman.
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected].
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