Government Schools

West Hartford Receives More Than $400,000 from State as School Security Grant

Photo credit: Ronni Newton (we-ha.com file photo)

The governor’s office announced Friday that nearly $10 million in grants have been awarded for school security at 182 schools, including 12 in West Hartford.

By Ronni Newton

West Hartford will have nearly half of its recent security upgrades funded by the state under the third round of school security grants announced by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy on Friday.

The total amount of grant money awarded by the state in this round is just under $10 million, to be distributed among 182 public and private schools in 51 towns and cities throughout the state.

According to the governor’s office, the funds are part of a School Security Grant Program that was part of legislation approved in 2013 that focused on gun violence protection and mental health as well as school security.

In this round West Hartford received grants for security upgrades at 12 schools. The total cost of the projects is $846,979.06. The state grants announced Friday total $417,643.51, with $429,335.55 to be covered by the town.

“This is very good news that we just got,” Superintendent of Schools Tom Moore told the Board of Education on Tuesday night.

The grants were written by Assistant Superintendent Andy Morrow and Director of Plant and Facilities Bob Palmer, Moore said.

Morrow said Tuesday that the grant money will cover projects like the installation of security cameras, locks that have been changed over, and relocation of the Sedgwick Middle School office. The projects cost of nearly $850,000.

“The town committed to bonding for that amount in the CIP (Capital Improvement Plan) last year, and this can free up the bonding for other things,” Morrow said.

He said it is great for the state to recognize and support the district’s efforts.

“We definitely, over the past five years, have been working closely with the West Hartford Police to upgrade our security,” Morrow said. “It’s something we take very seriously.

The upgraded security measures make the elementary, middle, and high schools safer for teachers as well as students, said Morrow.

The state has awarded three different rounds of security grants, totaling approximately $53 million, to more than 1,200 schools since 2013, the governor’s office said. The program uses state bond funding, and the program is administered by the Connecticut Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP).

“We have a moral obligation to provide a safe learning environment for our students,” Malloy said in a statement. “This most recent round of funding we are announcing today will provide critical resources that allow communities to modernize their school security infrastructure and provide an enhanced level of safety for both students and faculty.”

“All of our schools need to be safe and secure while still maintaining a positive, welcoming, and nurturing educational environment in which young people can learn, grow, and prepare for the next stage of their lives,” State Department of Education Commissioner Dianna Wentzell said in a statement. “This funding will help school districts achieve that important balance between addressing critical public safety concerns and ensuring as little disruption as possible to students’ learning process.”

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