RD228 - Annual Report to the General Assembly on the School Security Equipment Grant Program 2013-2014 - September 1, 2014

Executive Summary:
Legislation enacted by the 2013 General Assembly, HB 2343 and Item 139 C.13. of the 2013 Appropriation Act, created a school security equipment grants program for school divisions and regional programs. The legislation and appropriation act provision authorized $6.0 million per year in grant funding through five-year equipment notes issued by the Virginia Public School Authority, with the debt service paid from the Literary Fund.

Enactment clause 8 of HB 2343 requires the Department of Education to provide an annual report to the General Assembly on this program as follows:

"§ 8. Beginning in 2014, the Department shall make an annual report to the General Assembly by September 1 of each year reporting (i) the total grants paid during the immediately prior fiscal year to each eligible school division and (ii) a general description of the security equipment purchased by eligible school divisions."

2013-2014 grant requirements were as follows:

• Grants were awarded on a competitive basis using various criteria (see below)

• School divisions, including regional programs, were eligible to apply for and receive grant awards up to $100,000

• Applications were submitted to the Department of Education by August 1, 2013

• School divisions were notified on September 3, 2013, of their grant award

• School divisions had to commit to purchase the funded security equipment within six months of being notified of their grant award

• Eligible schools had to be scheduled to remain open for at least five more years

• No planned school renovations/additions could be scheduled for the next five years which would cause the security equipment being requested to become obsolete

• Local match of 25 percent of the grant amount required – Superintendent of Public Instruction was authorized to reduce the local match for school divisions with a composite index of less than .2000. Virginia School for the Deaf and the Blind was exempt from the local match requirement.

Competitive criteria used to rank the applications:

• 20 points – allocated for new security equipment installed in schools without any security equipment currently

• 15 points – allocated if a previous school security audit recommended the requested school security equipment be installed in the school

• 10 points – allocated for schools built prior to 1980 (5 points for those built in 1980 or after)

• 25 points – allocated based on the school division composite index:

.0000 - .2999 – 25 points
.3000 - .5999 – 20 points
.6000 - .8000 – 15 points

• 10 points – allocated for the percentage of students in the school division impacted by the school security equipment to be purchased with the requested grant funds:

Percentage of students impacted 75% - 100% - 10 points
Percentage of students impacted 50% - 74% - 8 points
Percentage of students impacted 25% - 49% - 6 points
Percentage of students impacted 1% - 24% - 4 points

• 20 points – allocated if the number of school-level incidents per 100 students for the following offense categories as reported in the School Safety section of the 2011-2012 School Report Card is at or above certain percentiles for all schools statewide: “weapons offenses,” “offenses against students, staff, and persons,” and “property offenses”:

At or above the 75th percentile – 20 points
At or above the 50th percentile, but below the 75th percentile – 15 points

Applications received and awarded:

• 553 applications were received totaling $10,611,529.45

• Funds were awarded based on a rank ordering of application’s point total on the competitive application criteria

• Awards were made to 457 schools in 85 school divisions, and the Virginia School for the Deaf and the Blind, Middle Peninsula Regional Program, and Jackson River Technical Center totaling $6.0 million

The majority of the security equipment purchased included:

• Surveillance equipment and camera systems
• Electronic access control systems
• Mass notification and intercom systems
• Visitor badging systems
• Two-way radios

For 2014-2015, an additional $6.0 million in grant funding is authorized. Applications were received by August 1, 2014, and are being reviewed for awarding grants.