Indiana schools chief worries safety grants boost inadequate

Indiana's state schools superintendent says she's worried a $5 million a year increase in available school safety grants won't go far enough.

Posted: May 13, 2019 8:02 PM

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana's state schools superintendent says she's worried a $5 million a year increase in available school safety grants won't go far enough.

Superintendent Jennifer McCormick said Monday the $19 million annual funding included in the new two-year state budget will help school districts, but cast doubts on whether that was adequate to cover costs for safety equipment, school police officers and threat assessment.

"Yes, it is concern," she said. "It comes down to safety is not inexpensive and students deserve the expense of it. ... For us to pretend like it is not or try to rationalize minimal dollars doesn't seem like that it makes a whole lot of sense for a state."

McCormick spoke on the opening day of the state Department of Education's annual Indiana School Safety Specialist Academy, which the department said drew some 1,200 people from eight states.

She said Indiana school officials were learning how to improve security following shootings last year at a Noblesville middle school in which a boy wounded a classmate and teacher, and at a Richmond middle school where a boy shot out a door and at officers before killing himself.

Republican legislative leaders touted the funding increase included in the spending plan approved last month as helping schools improve school safety. GOP Gov. Eric Holcomb had proposed keeping the funding level at $14 million a year with his initial budget proposal submitted in January.

State officials awarded $14.3 million in grants to 388 schools around the state last year after lawmakers increased funding from the $9 million available in 2017.

Lawmakers approved program changes that lower the amount that of money smaller school districts and private schools must provide to qualify for the state grants. Schools or districts with fewer than 500 students will have to provide a 25 percent match for grants up to $35,000, with the scale sliding up to a 50 percent match for districts topping 15,000 students seeking grants up to $100,000.

Holcomb extoled those changes when he signed them into law last month, saying in a statement the package "provides access to more funding for safety equipment, facilitates partnerships with local law enforcement and requires threat assessments in our schools. This new law is key to ensuring our schools are better prepared."

The governor's office declined additional comment on Monday.

Some schools will still struggle to qualify for grants because of low funding increases in recent years, said McCormick, a Republican who is the former superintendent of the Yorktown school district near Muncie.

"If I'm a district that hasn't seen any new moneys in more than five years and I know I need safety measures put into place, it's tough," she said.

The Republican-dominated Legislature also approved allowing school districts to seek voter approval in referendums to increase property taxes for school security expenses. McCormick said those referendums could result in "haves and have nots" among districts depending on whether local voters will support the tax proposals.

West Lafayette
Overcast
48° wxIcon
Hi: 55° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 46°
Kokomo
Overcast
46° wxIcon
Hi: 53° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 46°
Rensselaer
Scattered Clouds
41° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 41°
Fowler
Scattered Clouds
41° wxIcon
Hi: 51° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 41°
Williamsport
Overcast
46° wxIcon
Hi: 53° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 44°
Crawfordsville
Broken Clouds
45° wxIcon
Hi: 55° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 45°
Frankfort
Overcast
50° wxIcon
Hi: 56° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 47°
Delphi
Overcast
44° wxIcon
Hi: 53° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 44°
Monticello
Overcast
44° wxIcon
Hi: 53° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 44°
Logansport
Overcast
45° wxIcon
Hi: 52° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 45°
Rainfall is ahead for Thursday!
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 166564

Reported Deaths: 4194
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion26255795
Lake14627362
St. Joseph9725171
Elkhart9402142
Allen8741232
Hamilton6462117
Vanderburgh622464
Tippecanoe402416
Porter355450
Hendricks3442137
Monroe337538
Johnson3307131
Delaware314475
Clark308565
Vigo280641
Madison254796
LaPorte241464
Cass230125
Kosciusko210329
Warrick206865
Floyd188468
Howard170166
Bartholomew149058
Marshall149028
Dubois147926
Wayne145533
Grant135440
Henry134330
Boone131050
Hancock125044
Noble124535
Jackson122519
Dearborn103828
Morgan100440
Lawrence99238
Gibson95612
Clinton93516
Daviess93236
Shelby91835
Knox83910
LaGrange82815
Harrison80724
Fayette79021
Putnam78317
DeKalb78111
Posey7787
Jasper7075
Miami6905
Steuben6748
Montgomery64422
White63016
Greene58138
Adams5777
Scott55916
Decatur53339
Whitley4926
Ripley4888
Wells47311
Clay4697
Sullivan46714
Starke4608
Wabash4599
Huntington4545
Orange42525
Spencer4236
Randolph42110
Fulton3956
Washington3923
Jennings38813
Franklin38325
Perry37714
Jefferson3655
Pike36318
Jay3486
Carroll34713
Fountain3393
Tipton28523
Vermillion2761
Parke2604
Rush2544
Blackford2425
Newton24011
Owen2171
Martin2040
Pulaski1794
Crawford1651
Brown1503
Ohio1367
Union1180
Benton1110
Switzerland990
Warren921
Unassigned0236

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events