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Maple, Solon Springs receive school safety grants

The Maple School District received $84,705 and Solon Springs School District received $20,600 for safety improvements in the latest round of School Safety Grant awards, the Wisconsin Department of Justice announced Monday.

The majority of the Maple grant will be earmarked for security cameras at all district schools and a sophisticated recorder system for them. According to Business Manager Paul Staffrude, law enforcement will be able to access the cameras to monitor activity.

The grant money will pay for interior cameras at all of the schools except Northwestern High School, which already has interior cameras. Exterior cameras will be added to the high school.

Staffrude said the district will also put a shatterproof glass coating on the main entrance doors of all school buildings.

“We got exactly what we applied for,” Staffrude said, and the improvements should be in place by the start of the 2018-19 school year.

At Solon Springs, the $20,600 will be used as seed money to pay a portion of significant safety upgrades.

“We’re probably doubling that with local funds,” Superintendent Frank Helquist said.

The district plans to increase the number of cameras in the building from 18 to 40. That project alone is expected to cost $32,000.

Safety funds have also been earmarked for shatter-resistant coverings on the front-entry doors and on other exterior doors as needed. Each classroom will have an automatic lock mechanism installed that will allow teachers to lock the door by pressing a button, with key access only from the outside. The district plans to install security shades on all classroom door windows to provide a visual barrier and electronic monitoring devices on exterior doors to warn staff if they are left ajar.

In addition to physical security features, the district will offer crisis intervention training and continue holding active shooter drills. There will be at least one additional staff member monitoring the main entryway at the beginning and end of the school day.

“Eye-to-eye contact is so critical,” Helquist said.

A total of 52 school districts received a little more than $3.5 million in the latest round of School Safety Grants.

The Legislature last year approved $100 million in funding for the School Safety Grant program, which is administered by the Department of Justice’s Office of School Safety.

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