MADISON, Wis. – Attorney General Brad Schimel announced the opening of Wisconsin’s $100 million School Safety Grant Initiative. K-12 schools, both public and private, are encouraged to apply for the grants, which will be awarded starting in June.
“We owe our children and communities the promise of safe school environments,” said Attorney General Schimel. “Keeping our children and grandchildren safe continues to be my top priority and the grants announced today will make an immediate and positive difference in communities across the state. Grants will be awarded through a smart and innovative program developed and administered by security experts at the Wisconsin Department of Justice, whereby local law enforcement and school districts determine needs on the local level and make requests in consultation with the team at DOJ.”
Over the past four weeks, since 2017 Wisconsin Act 143 was signed into law, the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) has consulted with numerous stakeholders in the fields of education, security, law enforcement, and mental health. These specialists, listed at the end of this press release, worked with DOJ’s own security experts to develop how the School Safety Grant Initiative will create sustainable improvements in Wisconsin schools.
One of the School Safety Grant prerequisites is providing all full-time teachers, aides, counselors, and administrators with a minimum of three hours combined training in Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) and Trauma Informed Care/Trauma Sensitive Schools (TIC/TSS) before the end of the 2018-2019 school year; or demonstrate that staff has already received such training.
“Trauma-Informed Care (TIC) and the science of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) provide teachers and staff with the power and information to improve the lives of students now and for years to come,” said First Lady Tonette Walker, a long-time advocate of TIC and founder of Fostering Futures, a TIC initiative. “Early childhood adversity and trauma can shape a child’s future and impact their day-to-day lives and behavior at school. By applying TIC skills – such as stress-relief strategies for teachers and alternative approaches for resolving problem behavior – schools can better serve all students and ensure a safe learning environment.”
Grant applicants will also be required to partner with law enforcement agencies to ensure that proposed expenditures, visitor protocols, and school safety plans will be effective and provide our children with the safest learning environment possible.
“A primary goal of this grant program is to forge long-lasting partnerships between our schools and the law enforcement community,” said Attorney General Schimel. “I am excited to announce that the entire Wisconsin law enforcement community is behind this program, and ready to partner with all local schools, both public and private, to ensure that this grant program is a success.”
“The School Safety Grant Initiative will supplement the great work already being done by law enforcement and educators across our state to keep students safe in their schools,” said Marquette County Sheriff Kim Gaffney, President of the Badger State Sheriff’s Association. “DOJ has always been a reliable partner, and I look forward to continuing the successful relationship on this exciting new project.”
For schools that meet DOJ’s grant requirements, grants will be awarded in two general categories. DOJ’s Primary School Safety Grants will be focus on baseline improvements to schools, including door locks and hardening school entryways. The other category, Advanced School Safety Grants, will be prioritized to award grants on a competitive basis to schools that have met minimum security thresholds. The two grant categories will be awarded concurrently.
“Not all schools have made necessary security upgrades, which is why it is important that all schools are brought up to an essential school-safety baseline,” said Attorney General Schimel. “But at the same time, we should not penalize schools that have already made critical investments. My team will award these two grant categories concurrently.”
“Attorney General Schimel's leadership in school safety comes at a most critical time. Wisconsin has experienced a significant increase in both threats and violence in our schools within recent years,” said Ed Dorff, Executive Director of the Wisconsin School Safety Coordinators Association. “An analysis of national data conducted by The Educator's School Safety Network shows that Wisconsin ranks in the top ten states experiencing such threats and violence. The renewed and highly supported focus on school safety and security provided by the School Safety Grant Initiative is crucial to ensuring that school security needs in our state are addressed with diligence and fidelity.”
In addition to helping keep schools safe from violent attacks, DOJ will be closely monitoring for behavior that could affect a school’s ability to pay market rates for products like door locks and shatter-resistant film for glass. DOJ will review and investigate any instances of inappropriate pricing behavior so the benefits of the program are not reduced.
Following is a list of organizations who have met with DOJ staff, and consulted on the creation of the OSS and the grant process and criteria.
- Association of Wisconsin School Administrators
- Badger State Sheriffs Association
- CESA 4, 7, 10
- Federal Bureau of Investigation
- Wisconsin Association of School Boards
- Wisconsin Association of School Business Officials
- Wisconsin Association of School District Administrators
- Wisconsin Association of School Nurses
- Wisconsin Catholic Conference
- Wisconsin Chiefs of Police Association
- Wisconsin Council of Administrators of Special Services
- Wisconsin Council of Religious & Independent Schools
- Wisconsin Department of Administration
- Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction
- Wisconsin Education Association Council
- Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association
- Wisconsin Juvenile Officers Association
- Wisconsin Professional Police Association
- Wisconsin Retired Educators’ Association
- Wisconsin Safe and Healthy Schools Training & Technical Assistance Center
- Wisconsin School Music Association/Wisconsin Music Educators Association
- Wisconsin School Psychologists Association
- Wisconsin School Public Relations Association
- Wisconsin School Safety Coordinators Association
- Wisconsin Sheriffs and Deputy Sheriffs Association
DOJ’s Office of Open Government has issued an advisory to public school applicants related to Wisconsin’s Public Records Law.
Schools interested in applying for a School Safety Grant should create an account on the Egrants online system, and review the DOJ Grants Administrative Guide prior to submitting an application. The School Safety Initiative Grant application is available online, along with instructions. This information can also be found on the Office of School Safety website.
- Online Help is available throughout the Egrants application process.
- Once you have started an application, look for the HELP button in the top right corner of the screen, and you will be directed to page-specific instructions.
- State of Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) Egrants technicians are available non-holiday weekdays from 8am to 4:30pm CST.
- Email: Egrants@doj.state.wi.us
- Madison area local calls: (608) 267-9068
- Statewide toll free: (888) 894-6607
- The DOJ Grants Administrative Guide provides assistance with grants management and fiscal management rules, such as allowable costs and procurement.
- For any general program, policy, or budget questions related to 2017 Wisconsin Act 143 (Office of School Safety and School Safety Grants):
- Please submit via email to: firstname.lastname@example.org