LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) — The deadly shooting at Oxford High School brings to light a key state program that has existed for years to help schools improve their security. However, the state of Michigan hasn’t funded that program for the past two years.
The Competitive School Safety Grant Program has been around since at least 2015. All of the money awarded is supposed to go towards strengthening security on school campuses.
In 2015, $4 million in grants were handed out, but that changed after the 2018 school shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida in which 17 people were killed. After that shooting, funding for the grant program increased to $25 million, according to the Detroit Free Press.
More than 195 school districts received funding the following year, including Oxford Community Schools. The state sent them nearly $443,000 dollars.
However, last July, Michigan State Police sent a letter to school administrators telling them that the state Legislature eliminated $10 million in funding for the program, effectively suspending it. That lack of funding also continued into this year, despite most schools returning to in-person learning.
Lawmakers and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer have signed off on adding back in $10 million for the program next year as part of the approved state budget.
On Wednesday, members of the Michigan House Appropriations Committee unanimously approved a bill that would provide another $10 million to help districts pay for school resource officers. Half of that money would come out of federal COVID-19 relief funds.