Jeffco Public Schools will be replacing elementary classroom locks and installing a mass notification system thanks to grants from the Colorado Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. …
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Jeffco Public Schools will be replacing elementary classroom locks and installing a mass notification system thanks to grants from the Colorado Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.
Jeffco Public Schools is among 95 Colorado education providers to receive a grant from the School Security Disbursement (SSD) grant program, which is distributing $29 million in funding statewide. More than 300 projects were submitted. Grant recipients were announced Feb. 13.
The SSD grant program was enacted by SB18-269 — signed into law in June — which calls for funding to improve security in public school facilities and vehicles and to support training for school personnel.
“The state of Colorado really stepped up with money for school districts and school safety this year,” said John McDonald, director of safety and security for Jeffco schools. “We’ve been incredibly fortunate this year to have school safety grants that I think are really going to make a difference.”
Jeffco Public Schools received two grants for two different projects.
The first totaling $432,700, will go toward the district’s project of replacing classroom door locks to allow for locking from inside the classroom. This is a project recommended by the district and listed as a priority by the school safety and security task force.
McDonlad said 4,800 classrooms need to have their locks changed throughout the district. The grant money will provide funding for half of the elementary school lock changes.
The new locking system could have up to 30 seconds, McDonlad said, which is critical in a time of threat.
The second grant, $279,687.23, is for a mass communication system. The system will allow for important announcements — such and lock downs — to appear in written form on computers and televisions inside the building and well as outside electronic signage on the school. It will also send notifications to all district personnel, local law enforcement and first responders.
“To have a system like that is to be able to have some stress reduced,” McDonald said. “That communications piece, notifications piece — time matters, seconds count. The longer the delay the more cause for harm.”
McDonald said his team has already started work to put these changes in place.
“We haven’t received the money yet,” McDonald said, “but we are running because we want to get them implemented as fast as possible.”
According to the Colorado Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, funds will be disbursed before the end of April.
Golden View Classical Academy, a charter school in Golden, also received a grant for $63,948.20 to improve physical security with door protection devices and glass protection, and to train school staff in emergency response protocols.
“Students will be safer in their classrooms and throughout the school, and our staff will be more flexible in responding to a variety of dynamic critical events,” said Golden View’s principal Robert Garrow. “We are excited to be part of this program and to provide the safest possible environment for our students, staff, volunteers and visitors.”
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