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Safety grant

Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel, at center with, from left, Burlington Area School District Superintendent Peter Smet, City of Burlington Police Chief Mark Anderson and Burlington School Board President Rosanne Hahn are shown on Monday at Christ King School in Wauwatosa, where Schimel announced the recipients of the latest round of state school safety awards.

BURLINGTON —Two Racine County school districts and an area private school are among the 52 awarded grants on Monday through the state’s School Safety Grant Initiative.

Attorney General Brad Schimel made the latest grant award announcement on Monday afternoon at Christ King School in Wauwatosa. A total of $3.5 million is to be awarded in the latest round, and Schimel said more awards will be announced soon.

Through the program, the Burlington Area School District is set to receive a $163,880 grant, Kansasville Grade School is set to receive $20,421 and Somers Shoreland Lutheran High will receive $26,929.

The state Department of Justice is set to award a total $100 million to districts across the state through the grant program, which the Legislature approved in March. A total of 735 schools and school districts have requested funding through the grant program, according to the Associated Press.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, praised the grant program in a statement regarding the award announcements.

“Our students deserve to have safe schools and these grants are intended to help districts address any issues they may have,” Vos stated. “It’s good to see that schools around the state and in Racine County are utilizing this new grant program to make the necessary improvements to create safe learning environments.”

Grant plans

The Burlington Area School District submitted its grant proposal in June to request funds for training, to better safeguard entrances, to install access control at more entry points, and to purchase more security cameras, according to a the district.

“School safety has always been a priority for the district,” said Superintendent Peter Smet. “We have invested in securing our buildings and have completed many of the projects the Department of Justice recommended. This grant enhances the security measures already in place.”

Kansasville Grade School, 4101 S. Beaumont Ave., also submitted its application in June. Kansasville is set to use the funds to apply safety film to its entrance doors and to install security cameras both inside and outside its building, said District Administrator Matt Stratton.

The Racine County Sheriff’s Office recommended the cameras, as the equipment will help the school administration monitor the building and sheriff’s deputies could view activity inside the school in case of an emergency.

“A safer learning environment is a plus any day,” Stratton said. “We’re happy the grant funds were made available and happy to take advantage of them.”

BASD also collaborated with local law enforcement to prioritize grant-funded projects.

Work to be fast-tracked

BASD plans to have entrances better secured and the access control system in place before the start of classes or early in the school year, which begins Sept. 4. The grants require that all projects be completed by August 2019.

“Every school in our district will benefit from this grant,” Smet said. He added, “the grant supplements the effort of a recently formed Burlington Schools Safety Committee, which includes town and city police, fire, EMS, and school officials who has been working to review procedures if there were a crisis in any of our local schools.”

The DOJ requires that districts provide Adverse Childhood Experiences and Trauma Informed Care/Trauma Sensitive Schools training to receive grant funds. For this reason, staff from Clinical Psychology Associates will train all full-time teachers, aides, counselors and administrators who work in the Burlington district before school starts in September.

The BASD School Board has discussed addressing school safety as part of its initiatives to improve facilities and has identified the need to relocate the main offices near school main entrances at five of its seven schools.

“Our students deserve to have safe schools and these grants are intended to help districts address any issues they may have. It’s good to see that schools around the state and in Racine County are utilizing this new grant program to make the necessary improvements to create safe learning environments.” Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester

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Reporter

Caitlin Sievers covers cops, crime and the west-end communities. She's a lover of cats, dance and Harry Potter. Before moving to the Racine area she worked at small papers in Indiana, Illinois and Nebraska.

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