Governor launches nearly $200M in school safety grants

Published 12:01 pm Wednesday, June 21, 2023

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Tennessee Governor Bill Lee is inviting local law enforcement agencies and schools to apply for nearly $200 million in grant funding to further strengthen security at Tennessee schools.

These two grant programs – a result of bipartisan action by Gov. Lee and the General Assembly to pass strong school security measures into law during the 2023 legislative session – include significant funding to support placing a full-time, armed school resource officer (SRO) at every public school and make physical security improvements at public and non-public schools across Tennessee.

“Nothing is more important than making sure that Tennessee students and teachers return home from school safely each day,” said Lee. “This year, together with the General Assembly, we made significant investments to secure schools across Tennessee, and we’re now inviting local law enforcement agencies and schools to partner with us by applying for these historic funds.”

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Local law enforcement agencies and schools across Tennessee are invited to apply for the following grant programs to further strengthen school safety:

Statewide School Resource Officer Grant

The FY23-24 budget includes $140 million to place a full-time, armed SRO at every Tennessee public school.

Local law enforcement agencies are eligible to apply for a Statewide School Resource Officer (SRO) Grant, not to exceed $75,000 per year, per school for which they are responsible for providing SRO services. Applications are being accepted and reviewed by the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security on a rolling basis.

Public & Non-Public School Security Grants

Additionally, the FY23-24 budget dedicates significant one-time funding to strengthen security at Tennessee schools, totaling $40 million for public schools and $14 million for non-public schools.

The grant funding, administered through the Tennessee Department of Education, can be used to support a variety of school security efforts, including improved physical security, emergency operations planning, violence prevention programs, conflict resolution and safety training for staff members.

Public School Security Grant

Public school security grant applications must demonstrate a connection between requested funding and the vulnerabilities identified in the school’s yearly safety assessment, developed by the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security.

Non-Public School Security Grant

Non-public schools must submit an ‘Intent to Apply’ through the Tennessee Department of Education by August 4. Final grant applications are due no later than October 27.