Three Ways Schools Are Funding School Safety Solutions Amid Rising Costs and Budget Cuts

In the face of rising safety concerns and budget cuts, midsize or rural K-12 schools across the USA are finding innovative ways to fund school safety solutions. Given that 82% of public schools report incidents of violence, theft, or other crimes (National Center for Education Statistics), the need for effective safety measures is more pressing than ever.

Compounding these safety challenges are the tightening budget constraints many schools face. The Economic Policy Institute notes a significant reduction in education funding, with some states still funding schools at rates lower than before the 2008 recession. This financial squeeze leaves many public schools struggling to fund comprehensive school safety solutions and measures.

In response to this dual challenge of rising safety needs and shrinking budgets, schools are adopting innovative funding strategies. These include tapping into federal and state grants, forging community partnerships for additional support, and leveraging technology for cost-effective safety solutions. Each of these approaches offers a unique pathway to bolster school safety without overextending limited budgets. This article explores three strategies schools are employing to secure the necessary funding.

Three Ways Schools Are Funding School Safety Solutions

  1. Utilizing Federal and State Grants

Federal and state grants have become a crucial source of funding for school safety. The ESSER fund, part of the CARES Act, has been instrumental, with over $13 billion allocated to support educational institutions (U.S. Department of Education). This fund is designed to address a wide range of needs, including safety measures, pandemic response, mental health support, infrastructure upgrades, and emergency preparedness initiatives.

The ESSER fund allows schools to invest in advanced safety measures that might otherwise be unattainable due to budget constraints. This could include the installation of state-of-the-art surveillance systems, enhancement of campus communication networks, or the implementation of comprehensive health and wellness programs, all of which are pivotal in creating a safer educational environment.

Many states have implemented their own grant programs aimed at school safety. For instance, California offers grants for violence prevention and safety enhancements in schools. These funding programs are often more tailored to the unique challenges faced by schools in their respective states.

Complementing federal initiatives, several states have introduced grant programs targeted specifically at school safety. These state-specific programs often address the unique safety concerns that may be prevalent in local school districts, providing tailored solutions that are most effective for their specific environments. By effectively leveraging state grants, schools can overhaul their security infrastructure. This can include enhancing physical security measures, deploying emergency response solutions, and integrating advanced school safety solutions.

  1. Community Partnerships and Local Fundraising

Community partnerships are a powerful means of funding for schools. By collaborating with local businesses and nonprofits, schools can access additional funds and resources to bolster school safety. By engaging local businesses, nonprofits, and community groups, schools can tap into a wealth of resources and support. This involvement goes beyond financial aid; it's about building a shared commitment to the safety and success of young learners.

The impact of these community partnerships and fundraising efforts is substantial. Schools engaging in active community partnerships can see a notable increase in resources available for school safety solutions and enhancements.

Collaborations with Local Businesses: Many schools have successfully partnered with local businesses for funding and resource support. This not only enhances the school's security infrastructure but also fosters a long-term partnership with the company.

Nonprofit Alliances: Nonprofit organizations often have missions that align with educational and safety goals.

Community Group Engagement: Schools can also leverage support from community groups like parent-teacher associations (PTAs) and neighborhood councils. These groups can mobilize resources and organize safety-focused initiatives, such as community awareness campaigns or volunteer security patrols.

Crowdfunding Campaigns: With the rise of digital platforms, schools can now adopt crowdfunding for specific safety projects.

  1. Securing Grants

Assessment of Needs

  • Conduct a Safety Audit: Engage a professional to assess the school's physical security, mental health support systems, and emergency preparedness.
  • Survey Stakeholders: Gather input from teachers, students, parents, and local law enforcement to understand perceived safety needs and concerns.
  • Review Incident Reports: Analyze past incidents to identify areas that need improvement or reinforcement.

Research Available Grants

  • Visit the U.S. Department of Education Website: Look for federal grant opportunities such as the ESSER fund or other safety-related grants.
  • Consult State Education Department Resources: Check for state-specific grant programs that might cater to unique local safety needs.
  • Utilize Grant Databases: Access online databases like gov for a comprehensive list of available grants.

Aligning School Needs with Grant Objectives

  • Match Needs with Grant Goals: Ensure that your identified safety needs correspond directly to the goals outlined in the grant's criteria.
  • Engage with Grant Agencies: If possible, communicate with grant agencies for a clearer understanding of their objectives and expectations.

Preparing a Strong Application

  • Detail Safety Plan: Outline specifically how the grant will be used to address safety needs, including technology upgrades, training programs, or infrastructure improvements.
  • Provide Evidence-Based Justification: Use data and research to support the necessity and effectiveness of the proposed school safety solutions and measures.
  • Include Letters of Support: Gather endorsements from community leaders, local law enforcement, or educational experts to strengthen your proposal.

Demonstrating Community Impact

  • Highlight Broader Benefits: Illustrate how safer schools contribute to a more secure community, such as reduced local crime rates or enhanced community engagement.
  • Include Testimonials: Share perspectives from students, parents, and community members on how improved school safety solutions will positively impact them.

Navigating the Application Process

  • Create a Checklist of Requirements: Ensure all required elements, such as financial documents, project descriptions, and letters of support, are included.
  • Follow Format Guidelines: Adhere to specified formats, including font size, page limits, and document types.
  • Submit Before the Deadline: Plan to submit the application well in advance of the deadline to avoid any last-minute issues.


It's not just about crunching numbers and filling out grant applications; it's about safeguarding our future – the kids who walk through those school doors every day, eager to learn and grow. In an era where safety concerns are more complex than ever, it's heartening to see schools getting creative to ensure their halls are not just halls of learning, but also halls of safety.

Think about it: every step we take towards enhancing school safety is a step towards peace of mind for parents, a more focused learning environment for students, and a stronger and connected community. It's about building a foundation of trust and security that extends far beyond the classroom walls.

At Kokomo24/7®, we're not just about providing best-in-class school safety solutions; we're about being a partner in your journey towards a safer school. Our school safety solutions are designed to be more than just a checkbox on your safety checklist – they're about making a real difference in the daily lives of your students and staff.

Kokomo24/7® exists to keep schools safe. Large and small schools alike such as Chicago Public Schools trust Kokomo to keep their students healthy and their schools safe. Since 2018, Kokomo has become a proven leader in the education health and safety sector, and we pride ourselves on delivering highly customizable and cost-effective school safety solutions.

Kokomo24/7® is a leader in compliance and risk management solutions for all things health and safety. Kokomo shares your passion for school safety and has a significant track record across Fortune 1000 companies as well as public-sector clients and schools like the Los Angeles Unified School District and Chicago Public Schools. Ask us about the time we helped host the Oscars!

For more information on how Kokomo24/7® can support your school's safety initiatives and to schedule a personalized demo, please contact us today.

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