Community Schools Receive Operational Grant Assistance

Schools in Bucks and Montgomery County, PA, have received some safety grants from the Pennsylvania Department of Education. The schools will use the funds to boost their security systems. The funds do not have to be spent on anything related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Public Schools Received the Grants

Both public and private schools in Bucks and Montgomery Counties received funds for security products and services. North Penn Schools received $23,500, Souderton Area received $9,087, Moreland received $16,596 and Abington got $6,375. The Eastern Center for Arts and Technology of Willow Grove received $2,500. The schools will be using the funds for school police or resource officers, programs related to safety, security and safety equipment.

Private Schools Also Received Funding

Abrams Hebrew Academy, located in Yardley, received $24,465 and the private Archbishop Wood High School in Warminster was awarded $19,604. Plumstead Christian Academy Upper and Middle School was awarded $11,942, and its Lower School received $462. The St. Andrew Catholic School, which is located in Newtown Township, received funding in the amount of $23,748. The Saints Joseph and Robert School of Warrington received $5,940. Lansdale Catholic High School was given $23,794 in grants. The Upper Bucks Christian School in Sellersville was awarded $11,813.

Purpose of the Grants

Pennsylvania legislators from the districts where the schools got the grants said that school safety continues to be a concern even when the buildings are temporarily closed. Students will eventually be back in the school buildings, and those buildings need to be safe and secure for the students, staff and teachers. School safety has been off of the radar for a while due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but it's still a priority for parents, caregivers, community members and government officials.

What the Legislators Have to Say About the Grants

State Senator Maria Collett, D-12, of Lower Gwynedd, said that safety in schools is a top priority for her constituents. She added that the grants will allow local schools to buy desperately needed equipment. That equipment will allow schools in her area to ensure a high-quality approach to school safety with state-of-the-art technology. State Senator Steve Santarsiero, D-10, of Lower Makefield, explained that in uncertain times, it is important for the community and families to know that schools will be safe for students. They need to know that learning experiences will be positive and that kids will get a quality education.

Goals of the Safe Schools Grants

The goals of the Safe Schools grants include upgrading old technology and allowing students to learn in an environment that is safe, secure and productive. The state legislators also want to reduce the spread of violence in the community, which is what makes the educational component important.

Internet Upgrade Grants

As remote learning continues in most states, legislatures are also making upgrades to internet services. That's important for kids who need to be online all day for school Zoom or other platforms. In Arkansas, the state's legislative council approved nearly $300,000 in grants on Friday, November 20. Those grants are to Howard and Polk Counties. They will allow the counties to pay for studies that are needed for federal loan and grant funds for upgrading broadband services.

Which Arkansas Communities Are Receiving the Grants

Howard and Polk Counties and the city of Cabot will each get $75,000 for rural broadband identification grants. Benton's grant is $40,000. These grants are for helping communities conduct due diligence business studies for broadband. Those studies are required for federal money that will pay for broadband infrastructure.

Why the Grants Are Important

These grants are important because they foster collaboration between nonprofit, for-profit and local government organizations. A lot of small communities in Arkansas and other states do not have a talent pool in-house to do the studies. This leaves them unable to apply for federal money for better internet. These grands bridge that gap and get the ball rolling.

Where the Funds Came From

There are another 27 of these $75,000 grants available. The funds came from the CARES Act. The program received a total of $2.3 million in COVID-19 relief funds, and building up internet infrastructure is increasingly important as people continue to do telework and students continue a hybrid or all-remote learning program for K-12, college and university instruction. Teachers and administrators noted that many students didn't participate in the spring when learning initially went remote. The leading reason why they didn't engage was a lack of internet service.

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