Westport to Receive School Security Funding Sen. McKinney, Sen. Boucher, Rep. Lavielle: Protecting our Children is a Top Priority

September 19, 2013

Hartford, CT – Today, leaders in Hartford announced $5 million is being made immediately available to municipalities in the first round of school security funding under a Competitive Grant Program. The program was introduced following the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School last December as school districts throughout the state carefully reviewed their security measures and building plans. Westport will be receiving $261,083 from the state and the local school district will be investing $999,559 in security improvements.

“The task forces commissioned by the administration and the legislature in the wake of the Sandy Hook tragedy identified a number of ways we can make Connecticut schools safer,” said Senate Minority Leader John McKinney (R-28) whose district includes both Westport and Newtown. “We’re pleased to know that Westport and other towns are making security improvements with the help of state funding made possible by legislation the Westport delegation voted for and passed earlier this year.”

“In a post Sandy Hook world, security in all of our schools has been heightened. Many districts however, find it difficult to fund new security technology. This program will help defray a portion of the cost of infrastructure improvements if the district decides to add security measures,” said State Senator Toni Boucher (R-26), the ranking senator on the General Assembly’s Education and Higher Education committees and chair of the Bipartisan School Safety Working Group established in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy.

“As a community, Westport is committed to ensuring its students can continue to receive a top notch education in a secure and safe environment,” said Representative Gail Lavielle (R-143), who is a member of both the Education and Higher Education Committees. “This has been a priority of the district and I am very pleased that Westport has been chosen to receive these funds.”

The grants will reimburse municipalities for a portion of the costs associated with making safety and security improvements. The improvements can include:

  • development or improvement of security infrastructure
  • school personnel training in the operation and maintenance of the new or improved security structure
  • purchase of portable entrance security devices, including metal detector wands, screening machines, and related training
  • installation of surveillance cameras
  • penetration resistant vestibules
  • ballistic glass
  • solid core doors
  • double-door access
  • computer-controlled electronic locks
  • entry door buzzer systems
  • scan card systems
  • panic alarms or other systems

The school security grants are administered by the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP), the Department of Education (SDE), and the Department of Construction Services (DCS). The funding will go to schools with the most need i.e. — buildings with little or no existing security infrastructure located in school districts.

Of the 604 schools that applied for the grants, 169 have been chosen in this first round. Each municipality will be reimbursed between 20 and 80 percent according to town wealth, as defined in subdivision (26) of section 10-262f of the Connecticut General Statutes. Funds from municipalities, which total $3,921,435, will be matched with nearly $5 million in state funding for an overall $8,911,853 investment in school security among 169 schools.

Two additional rounds of funding are expected to be awarded in the next year.

Please refer to the DESPP website for more information on how to apply for a school safety competitive grant.