School Funding and Grant Options
A general Grant Finder Tool can be found at https://www.schoolsafety.gov/grants-finder-tool
Administered by the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, the SVPP program received $53 million in funding in 2022. The purpose of the program is specifically “to improve security at schools and on school grounds.” According to program reports, the most common elements include in project awards are camera systems, access controls (e.g., doors, locks), communications technology (e.g., panic alarms, radios, repeaters), expedited notification to law enforcement, training for law enforcement and visitor management technologies. Eligible applicants include local districts, police departments and sheriff’s departments in addition to units of “general” government (e.g., city, county, township). The 24-month awards range up to a maximum of $500,000 and require a local cash match of 25 percent.
For more information, see the official SVPP program page
Broadband high-speed internet and related networking infrastructure have tremendously enhanced classroom instruction and other capabilities. This same infrastructure also enables connected security devices. Virtually all security solutions depend at least in part on physical network infrastructure, the most important of which is power-over-ethernet (POE) cabling. Public schools can utilize the federal E-Rate program to fund expansion of POE infrastructure, along with other network infrastructure and communications needs, which can in turn help offset and lower the overall cost of security projects that require additional cabling.
In 2022, Congress authorized an additional $1 billion in formula funding under Title IV-A to state educational agencies to provide students with “safer and healthier learning environments” under the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA). States must allocate these funds competitively to schools to fund projects and expenses currently allowable under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA). The BSCA also approved roughly $300 million in additional funding to STOP School Violence Act Programs administered by the U.S. Department of Justice, which provides a 40% increase over baseline for the SVPP program through 2026.
Created in 2003, the DHS Homeland Security Grant Program (HSGP) provides grants to local, state and federal government agencies to assist in the implementation of the National Preparedness System. HSGP consists of three programs: the State Homeland Security Grant Program (SHSGP), the Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI) and Operation Stonegarden. Allocation of grant awards within a state, including to subrecipients, are managed by each state administrative agency (SAA), typically a state homeland security or public safety department. DHS has identified education facilities as a critical infrastructure subsector to government facilities, requiring federal coordination and assistance to state and local governments to secure. Accordingly, assistance to preparedness activities is a statutorily authorized use of the DHS HSGP. Homeland security grants can provide critical assistance to school districts with extremely limited budgets and/or those at high risk, where needed investments may be out of reach due to initial infrastructure and equipment cost.