Dozens of local schools get $7.6 million for security upgrades

Miamisburg, Troy, Xenia among top recipients in latest round of state grant program

More than a dozen local school districts are receiving at least $200,000 as part of a state program to upgrade physical safety and security systems in K-12 schools.

This funding is the fourth round in the state’s K-12 School Safety Grant Program. A total of 945 schools statewide are receiving grants in this round, including $7.66 million granted to 29 schools and districts in Montgomery, Miami, Greene, Preble and Warren counties.

The biggest recipients in this round are Miamisburg, Xenia and Troy, all at around $800,000, followed by Northmont and Tipp City, at roughly half a million each. The districtwide grants will be split up, with funds going to multiple schools within each district.

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The grants are intended to pay for physical security expenses like new security cameras, public address systems, automatic door locks, visitor badging systems, and exterior lighting. As part of applying for the grants, schools are required to assess the vulnerabilities of their buildings.

School safety experts have long said that best practices must include both safety infrastructure and regular training to make sure the people in the schools — both students and employees — are prepared and following procedures.

Miamisburg Superintendent Laura Blessing said her district, which is receiving $840,000, is considering improvements like a new visitor check-in system where driver’s licenses are scanned, upgrades to an existing access control system, and a door intrusion detection system.

“Sometimes a door doesn’t latch, or by accident is left open. In a large facility like a high school or middle school, even if you have routine checks by our security personnel and administrators and custodial staff, something can get missed,” Blessing said. “But if you have a detection system, even if the door is having mechanical issues and isn’t latching, that can be detected through the software and an upgrade in your doors.”

Officials from the Xenia school district, which will receive $800,000, said their funds would partly go to improving lighting and PA systems, as well as installing more secure doorways and improved security cameras.

“I was very excited to learn we had received this funding to help support the district as we continue to improve physical security for Xenia students,” Xenia Superintendent Gabriel Lofton said. He added that the district had also recently added a school resource officer to Warner Middle School, and is discussing adding two more SROs to cover elementary and preschool buildings.

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Troy school officials listed several items they will buy with the state funding — lock control upgrades, duress alarms, GPS systems for its buses, video and camera upgrades and shatter-resistant security film for the glass on the entrances to its buildings.

Troy Assistant Superintendent Michael Moore said the district worked with the city police department to make a list of their greatest areas of need.

“The safety of our students is always our primary concern and we will do everything in our power to keep them safe,” he said. “This grant will definitely help us achieve our goal of providing the safest possible school environments for our students.”

As this is the fourth round of the state program, some local schools had already received previous grants, including $983,000 for Kettering City Schools, $533,000 for Centerville, $300,000 for Springboro, and between $150,000 and $250,000 each for the Miamisburg, Northmont and Lebanon school districts.

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Local schools receiving grant funds in this round include:

  • Miamisburg — $840,000
  • Xenia — $800,000
  • Troy — $794,625
  • Northmont — $514,776
  • Tipp City — $500,000
  • Eaton — $400,000
  • Franklin — $396,256
  • National Trail — $300,000
  • Tri-County North — $300,000
  • Beavercreek — $288,722
  • Milton-Union — $284,882
  • Kettering — $216,862
  • Fairborn — $200,000
  • Lebanon — $200,000
  • Piqua Catholic — $200,000
  • Preble Shawnee — $200,000
  • Schools receiving $22,000 to $100,000 — Huber Heights, Brookville, Covington, Upper Valley Career Center, Preble County ESC, Warren County ESC, Dayton Islamic School, Creative World of Montessori (Greene), Montgomery Prep Academy (Dayton), Bishop Fenwick, Lebanon Christian, St. Francis DeSales (Lebanon), CinDay Academy (Springboro)