Executive Council OKs school safety grantsBy DAVE SOLOMON
State House Bureau
February 21. 2018 8:45PM
CONCORD — The Executive Council on Wednesday approved another round of grants for school security and safety needs as part of a $19 million investment in school building aid for 2018 made possible by a surplus from the 2017 state budget.
Gov. Chris Sununu later described the council vote to send nearly $3.7 million to local school districts as evidence of the state’s commitment to school safety.
The $3.7 million disbursed on Wednesday is in addition to $10 million in grants approved in late January, leaving the governor’s School Infrastructure Safety Commission with about $6 million left to distribute.
“What happened in Florida is a tragedy. We have to understand it. We have to hopefully learn from it,” said Sununu after the vote. “One thing that we’ve been very aggressive on in this state is making the investments in the communities and the schools for safer schools.”
Not all the projects are directly related to security against the kind of attack that took place in Florida. The largest amount of the recent round of funding, $2.3 million, went for security projects, but about $1.2 million went to fix structural deficiencies that threaten safety, and $50,000 to fiber optic internet connections.
The largest single grant, $600,000, is for roof truss replacement at Gonic Elementary School in Rochester
Many of the grants are for things like surveillance camera systems, new door locks that allow the staff to secure the doors from the interior of the classroom and other access control systems.
Security system upgrades costing between $200,000 and $242,000 each were approved for three schools in the Hampton School District.
“We had surplus funds, so we made an effort to make sure we were providing safer schools for our kids,” said Sununu.
“I was in Laconia last night and I had a woman come up to me telling me she had been trying for years to get upgrades to her school for safety considerations, and it wasn’t until our $300,000-plus grant came forward that she was able to say, ‘Wow we’re getting this done.’”
A complete list of approved projects can be viewed below: