JEFFERSON CITY – Gov. Jay Nixon today announced Missouri will work to strengthen school safety by using a $500,000 U.S. Department of Education grant to help local schools and regional response agencies collaborate on designing individualized school emergency response plans.
“Missouri school children deserve the safest and most secure schools possible so they can concentrate on learning and building brighter futures for themselves and our state,” Gov. Nixon said. “By investing this grant funding at the local level and allowing schools to work directly with the local response agencies that would respond in their communities, we’ll help make this important planning as responsive as possible.”
The $500,485 grant will be implemented by the Missouri Center for Education Safety, a joint initiative of the Missouri Department of Public Safety and the Missouri School Boards Association, in collaboration with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. The funding comes through a new competitive grant program, the School Emergency Management Grants to States, which recently awarded $13 million to 25 states. The one-time grants provide funding for 18 months.
“This grant will not only enable school districts in Missouri to update and improve their existing emergency operations plans, it will allow for much greater coordination among school districts and other agencies that may be involved in emergency situations,” said Paul Fennewald, director of the Center for Education Safety.
While Missouri school districts typically have emergency operations plans, they may not be fully coordinated with other emergency plans designed by local and regional responders. Missouri’s State Emergency Management Agency, Office of Homeland Security and other agencies take a regional approach to emergency and disaster response. This allows the state’s nine geographic regions to collaborate, target priorities, and identify, fund and share response assets and resources. The Center for Education Safety will implement the grant so that the school emergency plans are fully integrated into each region’s emergency plans and will fully incorporate the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
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