Ohio awards $47M for school security upgrades; $53M to come

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio is awarding $47 million for security upgrades at over 1,100 schools in 81 counties, and will accept applications for another $53 million in that grant program, Gov. Mike DeWine announced Tuesday.

The K-12 schools sharing in the $47 million applied when the program was launched last year with an initial $5 million but didn’t receive grants then. They're getting up to $50,000 each for physical safety upgrades, such as security cameras, automatic door locks, visitor badging systems and exterior lighting.

DeWine had announced plans to provide more money for school security upgrades in the days after the deadly school shooting in Uvalde, Texas. The larger pool for this year’s grants is supported by federal pandemic relief funding the state received through the American Rescue Plan Act.

While there’s “nothing magical” about the total $100 million, it’s a good place to start with basic safety needs, the Republican governor said.

DeWine said his administration wants to ensure that every school "has the basic, basic minimum, at least, of school safety functions.”

The school districts receiving the most money include $1.6 million Cleveland, over $900,000 for Cincinnati and Columbus, $800,000 for Springfield, and over $600,000 for Akron, Dublin and Lakota, north of Cincinnati.

Schools that didn't apply or receive grants through the program are slated to get priority when the state begins accepting applications in the coming weeks for the remaining $53 million.