CADILLAC — Cadillac Area Public Schools received a pleasant surprise Thursday morning that will ultimately help to make the district safer and more secure.
CAPS Superintendent Jennifer Brown said the district was informed it was one of only five Michigan schools to receive funds as part of the U.S. Department of Justice, Community Oriented Policing Services, School Violence Prevention Program grant. The district will be getting $473,106 and will use those funds to enhance school safety at secondary buildings and the Viking Learning Center.
The Students, Teachers, and Officers Preventing School Violence Act of 2018 (STOP School Violence Act of 2018) gave the Community Oriented Policing Services or COPS Office authority to provide awards directly to states, units of local government, or Indian tribes to improve security at schools and on school grounds in the jurisdiction of the grantee through evidence-based school safety programs.
School Violence Prevention Program funding will provide up to 75% funding for the following school safety measures in and around K-12 schools and school grounds including:
• Coordination with law enforcement.
• Training for local law enforcement officers to prevent student violence against others and self.
• Metal detectors, locks, lighting, and other deterrent measures.
• Technology for expedited notification of local law enforcement during an emergency.
• Any other measure that the COPS Office determines may provide a significant improvement in security.
“We wrote this during COVID. It is a U.S. Department of Justice grant. I had (former CAPS director of accountability and assessment) Shaina (Biller) write this grant,‘ Brown said.
She said while the bond that voters approved in May 2018 did address many safety issues, there were things it didn’t address such as parking lot lighting. Other things the grant will help the district purchase include two-way radios and panic buttons.
Brown said the district will be putting in about $135,000 to bring the total amount up to $608,000. While the district is putting in more than $100,000, Brown said the work to be done wouldn’t happen without the grant.
“Those things are pretty expensive. Eight posts and lights at the high school are about $100,000. That is not bidded out but approximate,‘ she said. “We are doing lighting at Mackinaw Trail, the high school, and the Viking Learning Center. Do the math. We could not have done this without the grant.‘
While there is lighting already in place, panic buttons in all buildings, and two-way radios, Brown said it is only the minimum of what is needed. Through this grant, Brown said the district will ensure upgrades to the safety and security of the district while enhancing what the voters approved in the bond.