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Gov. Reynolds announces $100M school safety plan

The announcement comes less than a month after the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas that killed 19 students and two teachers.

DES MOINES, Iowa — Gov. Kim Reynolds on Tuesday announced $100 million in public funding for Iowa's school districts in an effort to make them safer and prevent an active shooter situation.

The announcement comes less than a month after the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas that killed 19 students and two teachers.

"These investments will make a tremendous difference in our ability to implement the type of proactive strategies to help prevent violence in schools while also taking steps to ensure schools and communities are in the best possible position to respond to an active event, Reynolds said at a press conference.

Below is a breakdown of the funds from the governor's office. Money comes from two federal sources: the American Rescue Plan Act and the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund:

  • $75 million: School Safety Improvement Fund  
  • $7.5 million: Vulnerability assessments for all 1,500 K-12 school buildings 
  • $6 million: Digital critical incident mapping technology  
  • $4.5 million: Radios for schools  
  • $1.5 million: Digital applications and software for reporting and intelligence 
  • $5.5 million: School Safety Bureau operations funding through 2026 

Individual school buildings could receive up to $50,000 in funding from a newly-created School Safety Improvement Fund.

Interim Superintendent of Des Moines Public Schools, Matt Smith, said that, although he is anticipating more details in the future, this proposal is exciting. 

"At first glance, (I was) super optimistic and very, very grateful that we're all on the same page about recognizing that the safety and security of our students, staff and our families in our community is the priority," Smith said.

Currently, the district is paying millions for security, including supporting public safety staff, renovating buildings, improving technology and video monitoring among other things.

"Every bit of a dollar helps, right?" Smith said. "And so you can never spend too much money, honestly, on ensuring the safety of your students and families." 

Smith also said that it is important for funding to include mental health support, though he is unsure of how much of this new federal funding will be allocated toward it. 

"The Governor's School Safety Bureau will provide Iowa with an intentional focus on providing assistance and tools to identify, report, and assess school-based threats, while still embracing local control,” Iowa Department of Public Safety Commissioner Stephan Bayens said. "It will facilitate training so that teachers, administrators, and first responders are equipped and empowered to keep our kids safe. The Bureau will work shoulder to shoulder with all involved for the common good of providing a safe place for our children to learn and grow."

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