ROCHESTER — Rochester Community Schools recently received an $828,164 grant from the Michigan State Police’s Competitive School Safety Grant Program to improve the safety and security of school buildings.

ROCHESTER — Rochester Community Schools recently received an $828,164 grant from the Michigan State Police’s Competitive School Safety Grant Program to improve the safety and security of school buildings.

Photo provided by Rochester Community Schools


RCS receives grant to enhance school security

By: Mary Beth Almond | Rochester Post | Published November 27, 2018

ROCHESTER — Rochester Community Schools recently received an $828,164 grant from the Michigan State Police’s Competitive School Safety Grant Program to improve the safety and security of school buildings.

Rochester Community Schools is one of 114 public school districts, 42 private schools, 22 public charter schools and 10 intermediate school districts/regional education service agencies to receive a portion of the $25 million in state grants awarded.

Dana Taylor, the district’s deputy superintendent of business operations, said the grant will enable RCS to make safety enhancements to doors, windows, communication systems and visual notification systems.

“For example, we have nice, inviting entryways, but in order to enhance the security, we’re going to strategically place window film, following the guidance of the security experts that we hired to come in and assess our facilities,” she said.

The grant money will fund the addition of access control keypads to help RCS tighten up building access during before- and after-school care programs.

“Depending on the vendor’s availability, our goal is by Dec. 1 to have the keypad entry systems installed at all of the elementary schools,” Taylor said.

But what Superintendent Robert Shaner said he is most excited about is making enhancements to the communication system across the district.

“We’re going to add some equipment that will allow us to communicate across the district in real time using radios, and that will allow us to enhance our ability to make sure we have a secure environment immensely,” he said. “We have some of that now, but we’re not able to communicate across the district at this point. By the end of spending the grant dollars, we’ll be able to communicate across the 56 square miles of the Rochester Community Schools district, regardless of what building you’re in.”

The district has until Sept. 30, 2019, to spend the grant and will be responsible for matching 25 percent of the total costs of the project. Seventy-five percent of the selected project costs, up to the maximum of the award amount, will be reimbursed.

District officials said the grant will complement the safety and security enhancements paid for by the five-year, $185 million bond proposal that voters passed in 2015. Through the bond efforts, Rochester Community Schools is spending approximately $6 million to enhance safety and security across the district by redesigning the main building entrances, providing building lockdown capabilities, and installing video surveillance cameras in the schools and on buses.

Rochester Community Schools is one of the largest public school districts in the state, so Shaner said it takes a community to keep children and staff safe.

“It’s a continuous process, and as things evolve around the country, we try to learn as much as we can from our colleagues and watch for lessons learned. The other part of this is we work very closely with not only our state legislators, but local law and federal law enforcement, and we’ll continue to do that to make sure kids are safe,” he said.

A complete list of award recipients is available at www.michigan.gov/cjgrants.