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District receives $500,000 school safety grant from Minnesota Department of Education

Funds will support security enhancements at South St. Paul Secondary School  

exterior of the Secondary building Monday, Oct. 1, 2018 — South St. Paul Public Schools (SSPPS) is excited to announce that it is one of 90 public school districts or charter schools to be awarded a school safety grant by the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE). The $500,000 grant will be used to support security enhancements at South St. Paul Secondary School. According to an Oct. 1 news release, MDE received a total of 1,187 complete applications, requesting $255.5 million—more than 10 times the available amount of funding.

“We feel fortunate that our grant application was accepted and that we received the much needed funds to enhance our building security efforts at the Secondary School,” said Superintendent Dave Webb. “As a district we have been making facility updates over the past several years thanks in large part to the generous support of our community through property tax levies. But we know that there is always more we can do. Unfortunately, high profile tragic events at schools across the nation have further highlighted the need for additional building security improvements.”

The grant award for SSP Secondary School includes improvements for physical upgrades, such as a new secured entrance area and access controls, as well as updated communications systems, including new public address (PA) and emergency notification systems.

Governor Dayton and the 2018 Legislature passed school safety grants last spring, allowing districts to submit separate grant applications for each building. Due to the large number of applications received, high-priority projects submitted on the first day were assigned random numbers to determine the order of funding up to the available $25 million. Schools were able to apply with qualifying projects for up to $500,000 per building. MDE, in consultation with the Minnesota Department of Public Safety’s Minnesota School Safety Center, determined grant eligibility based on project priority, with half of the grant funds available to schools outside of the 11-county metropolitan area. The final grant award for SSPPS will be determined after the district completes a detailed work plan and receives complete bids from contractors.

“We know that improving the physical structure and updating security technologies are only part of what schools must do to provide a safe and secure learning environment,” Webb said. “This grant aligns well with the district’s strategic efforts to personalize learning for each student, provide multi-tiered systems of support to address student behavior issues and appropriate interventions, and train all staff in racial equity and cultural competence to ensure all students have the access and opportunity to achieve their full potential. It takes all of us — students, staff, families and visitors — working together to ensure our students feel safe and supported at school in our community.”