Calhoun City Council members announced Monday during a regular meeting that city schools are slated to receive a federal grant of $300,000 to install security cameras, metal detectors, locks, lighting and other security related equipment in the new CMS/CHS complex.
A federal program called “COPS Secure Our Schools” is funding the grant, said Sharon Jolly of the Calhoun City Police Department. The grant helps law enforcement agencies work with schools to improve security.
In order for Calhoun city schools to receive the funds, the grant had to be prepared and sponsored through a local law enforcement agency, Jolly said.
The schools will not receive all of the money at once, she said, as the grant provides funds on a reimbursement basis.
“Invoices are collected after they buy, and then it is reimbursed back into an account,” Jolly said, “and the money can’t be spent on anything except to secure the school.”
Unlike most grants, she said, this is not a matching grant. This means neither the county nor the city will have to surrender any funds for the schools to receive the money.
Jolly said the city schools system has made several reductions to its budget, including eliminating or not filling a number of staff positions, so the grant offers a little relief.
“I think as the school, you either raise taxes and put more pressure on the citizens, or you try for something like this,” she said.
According to a letter from Bernard Melekian, director of U.S. Department of Justice to Calhoun Mayor Jimmy Palmer, the official beginning date for the schools to start receiving reimbursements was Sept. 1.
School officials hope to be finished with the complex by fall 2013.
The U.S. Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) has funded more than $13 million in grants for 93 local law enforcement agencies to assist school safety projects in 32 states, according to their website, www.cops.usdoj.gov.
According to the web site:
Secure Our Schools program provides up to 50 percent of the total cost for law enforcement and schools across the nation to install security systems to help deter crime, said the site.
Through this program COPS has invested more than $900 million in U.S. schools and more than $70 million in communities.