Watauga County Schools system among those awarded safety grants

Last Updated on February 5, 2024 2:20 pm

The Watauga County Schools system is among two hundred thirty North Carolina school districts and charter schools awarded safety grants by the Department of Public Instruction’s Center for Safer Schools (CFSS).

The announcement was made on Wednesday and the total for all grants is 35 million dollars. Watauga's share is $300,000. The funding will be used for safety equipment, training and services for students in crisis. Safety equipment covered by this grant includes items such as cameras, vape detectors, radios, and weapons detection systems, according to CFSS. Training can include professional development for school leaders to assist students who are experiencing anxiety, trauma and/or conduct problems. Services made available through this grant can include school-based mental health services.

CFSS Executive Director Karen W. Fairley said each application was thoroughly reviewed.

“It is part of the Center’s mandate and mission to give public-school units the tools they need to help keep their schools safer – that includes grant funding,” she said. “We thank the General Assembly for its generous appropriation that enables us to support North Carolina public schools.”

State Superintendent Catherine Truitt said the need for school safety funding is crucial in ensuring students’ well-being throughout their educational journey.

“Nothing is more important than making our schools safer and more secure, and these grants will continue to play a vital role,” Truitt said. “This funding will help improve school security in many ways, including, updating technology and training to prevent future emergencies. I applaud state lawmakers for making this a priority and look forward to working with them to deliver more safety funding in the future.”

Funding for the hiring and training of school resource officers (SROs) was a continuation of the $33 million in SRO funding awarded in October 2022 for the 2022-23 school year.

Awards are subject to all administrative and financial requirements, including timely submission of all financial and programmatic reports; resolution of all interim audit findings; and adherence to allowable expenses.

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