The American Rescue Plan (ARP), enacted on March 11, 2021, provides $130 billion in K-12 education funding to support schools in safely reopening.
For K-12 schools, the ARP funding is allocated through the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund. It is distributed – based on the Title I enrollment numbers – to public schools through state education departments and to private and parochial schools through local educational authorities (LEAs).
Each state identifies an LEA differently – some legislate by region, others by county or city. Be sure to check with your individual state to seek out your LEA.
Research suggests a significant need for schools to update or enhance existing life safety and security systems.
According to the 2021 Infrastructure Report Card, more than half of public school districts surveyed in 2020 needed to update or replace multiple building systems – and nearly one-third of security systems in public schools were in “fair” or “poor” condition.
Limited budgets have prevented schools from upgrading or implementing security technology in the past, but they now have the opportunity to tap into $130 billion in K-12 education funding from the ARP.
It’s worth noting the significant increase in education funding provided by the ARP, compared to what was provided by the previous stimulus bill. The ARP has allocated a combined $170 billion to K-12 and higher education – more than five times the amount that was allocated by the CARES Act.
Further, less than half of the CARES Act education funding was claimed, leaving billions of dollars on table. With this new round of emergency grant funding, K-12 schools can make much-needed improvements to not only address today’s challenges but to prepare for the future.
K-12 schools may use ARP funding to update or enhance existing school security solutions, or implement new integrated health and safety solutions that help them:
• Manage access and people flow
• Efficiently screen students, staff and visitors
• Automate occupancy tracking
• Enhance emergency communications
• Manage social distancing
Other measures of safety may include implementing intrusion detection, video surveillance, access control, fire alarms, visitor management systems, gunshot or weapons detection, or other means to help keep school environments safe.
Get Help Accessing & Leveraging ARP Funds for your School Security
The deadline for claiming ARP funds is Sept. 30, 2021, with the ability to expend the funding for two calendar years afterward.
Creating a safe and secure learning environment means being able to mitigate health and safety risks effectively and efficiently.
Security experts at Granilux Solutions assist schools in developing a strategic approach in leveraging these funds and new technology to improve school safety.