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Somerset County schools get grants for safety and security programs


Most of Somerset County’s school districts received grant awards from the School Safety and Security Committee (SSSC) under the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD), which approved $47 million statewide for competitive school safety and security grants to improve safety, security and mental health supports for students and staff.

Funds will advance the SSSC’s goal of ensuring all Pennsylvania students can learn in safe, healthy school environments by helping school entities address basic safety needs and mental health services identified in the committee’s recently adopted Revised Baseline Criteria Standards.

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“We appreciate the availability of these funds and the recognition our state has made for the changing needs within our buildings,” said Nicole Dull, Conemaugh Township superintendent, in an email. The funds assist us as we put programs and supports in place to ensure campus safety and mental health supports, two items that have been brought to the forefront in the past few years. The challenges we face as an educational institution continue to grow and these positions/programs impact students, faculty, staff and the community in a multitude of ways.”

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The awards for the fiscal year 2023-24 breaks down into:

  • Berlin Brothersvalley: Meritorious Award, $30,000; Mental Health Award, $108,953; Total School Safety Award, $138,953.

  • Conemaugh Township: Meritorious Award, $30,000; Mental Health Award, $111,232; Total School Safety Award, $141,232.

  • Meyersdale Area: Meritorious Award, $30,000; Mental Health Award; $109,779; Total School Safety Award $139,779.

  • North Star: Meritorious Award, $30,000; Mental Health Award, $112,689; Total School Safety Award, $142,689.

  • Rockwood Area: Meritorious Award, $30,000; Mental Health Award, $108,137; Total School Safety Award, $138,137.

  • Salisbury-Elk Lick: Meritorious Award, $30,000; Mental Health Award, $103,314; Total School Safety Award, $133,314.

  • Shade-Central City: Meritorious Award, $30,000; Mental Health Award, $104,465; Total School Safety Award, $134,465.

  • Shanksville-Stonycreek: Meritorious Award, $30,000, Mental Health Award, $103,398; Total School Safety Award, $133,398.

  • Somerset Area: Meritorious Award, $35,000, Mental Health Award, $125,121; Competitive Award, $432,470; Total School Safety Award for FY23-24, $592,591.

  • Somerset County Technology Center Career and Technical Center: Mental Health Award, $70,000; Total School Safety Award, $70,000.

  • Turkeyfoot Valley Area: Meritorious Award, $30,000; Mental Health Award, $103,427; Total School Safety Award, $133,427.

  • Windber Area: Meritorious Award, $35,000; Mental Health Award, $115,552; Total School Safety Award, $150,552.

Dull said Conemaugh Township will utilize the grant funds in the following ways:

  • School Safety Award of $30,000: Help to partially fund the employment of a school police officer in the district.

  • Mental Health Award $111,232: Help to partially fund two full-time mental health clinicians in the district through REACH, https://www.reachschoolmentalhealth.com/

“Turkeyfoot Valley Area School District holds the safety and well-being of our children as our top priority. Therefore, when the opportunity arose to attain additional funds for support and safety programs, the district sought out the funding,” said Nicole Dice, Turkeyfoot Valley School District superintendent, in an email. “The district plans to utilize the funds to provide support services to district children through behavioral health services, emotional support programs, mentorship, school security and social skills programs. Our goal is to put every dollar of the funding into direct supports for safety and for our children to improve and maintain positive mental and behavioral health across the district.”

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The awards complete the $155 million school safety grants program package appropriated in the bipartisan 2023-24 budget and issued by the SSSC in January.

These awards are part of the $155 million 2023-24 budget package supporting improved safety and security and mental health supports for students and staff in Pennsylvania’s public and private K-12 schools.

“As a father, I understand how much Pennsylvania parents care about keeping their kids safe at school and healthy in body and mind,” said Lt. Gov. Austin Davis, chairman of PCCD and the SSSC, in a press release. “Our kids are facing so many pressures, and our schools are dealing with significant challenges. The Shapiro-Davis Administration is committed to making sure our schools have the resources they need to keep their facilities secure from threats and provide the mental health services and support that our kids need.”

Madolin Edwards can be reached at medwards@dailyamerican.com.

This article originally appeared on The Daily American: County districts receive some of $47 million in school safety grants



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