Brewster: School Safety Committee Approves More Than $150 Million in CARES Funding

Brewster: School Safety Committee Approves More Than $150 Million in CARES Funding

Harrisburg – June 16, 2020 – State Sen. Jim Brewster (D-Allegheny/Westmoreland) said today that the School Safety and Security Committee approved the framework to distribute more than $150 million of a total of $215 million in federal CARES Act funding.

“The action taken today by the School Safety and Security Committee is important because it will help speed the distribution of hundreds of millions in federal CARES Act funds to address pandemic related expenses,” Brewster said.  “These dollars will go as grants to schools and help reduce community violence.”

Brewster said that all school districts will get a mandatory minimum grant of $120,000 plus additional funds based on daily student enrollment.  Other school entities will get a $90,000 grant. 

“I am pleased that these funds will be soon rolling out of Harrisburg and into local school districts,” Brewster said.  “We must remain steadfast in our commitment to help school districts deal with COVID-19 expenses, while we work with community groups to stem violence.”

Brewster has served on the committee that distributes school safety grants since its inception.

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Contact: Tim Joyce

Phone: 412 380-2242

Email: Timothy.Joyce@pasenate.com

Brewster: $1.7 Million in School Safety Grants Approved for Local Districts

Brewster: $1.7 Million in School Safety Grants Approved for Local Districts

Harrisburg – February 26, 2020 – State Sen. Jim Brewster today said that $1.7 million in state school safety grants will soon be distributed to local schools.

Brewster, who represents portions of Allegheny and Westmoreland counties, serves as a member of the School Safety and Security Committee. He has been the General Assembly’s foremost advocate for addressing school safety issues. The funds were approved by the committee at its meeting today.

“These grants are critical tools that can be used to protect students, teachers, administrators and visitors to school facilities,” Brewster said. “As a member of the committee that approves these grants, I am keenly aware of the needs of area schools and committed to helping improve security.”

Brewster said that he would continue to work to adjust competitive grant criteria so that more school districts can access maximum funding. 

The following school districts in Brewster’s area will receive competitive and meritorious school grants:

Allegheny County:

  • Baldwin-Whitehall School District                                              $45,000
  • Brentwood School District                                                            $35,000
  • Clairton School District                                                                  $30,000
  • Duquesne School District                                                              $30,000
  • East Allegheny School District                                                     $481,508
  • Elizabeth Forward School District                                              $40,000
  • Gateway School District                                                                $40,000
  • McKeesport Area School District                                                $45,000
  • Plum Borough School District                                                     $40,000
  • South Allegheny School District                                                  $455,000
  • West Allegheny School District                                                   $40,000
  • West Mifflin Area School District                                               $40,000

Westmoreland County:

  • Burrell School District                                                                   $35,000
  • Kiski Area School District                                                             $40,000
  • New Kensington-Arnold School District                                   $35,000
  • Penn-Trafford School District                                                     $45,000
  • Westmoreland IU7                                                                         $239,000

Brewster has been a strong and vocal advocate of improving security at school facilities. He has sponsored a package of bills to enhance safety in schools. The legislation includes: the development of a school safety commission, requiring school safety upgrades to be part of approved school construction and rehabilitation projects, and armed guards in school building. 

In addition, last August the school safety committee approved Brewster’s request to create a subcommittee to explore the development of baseline safety and security standards that could be universally applied to all school districts. 

“We must keep providing grant funds to pay for safety upgrades to schools,” Brewster said. “Our children deserve a safe and secure environment that is conducive to education.”

The School Safety and Security Committee was established in 2018. The grants are administered through the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency.

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Brewster Announces $450,000 in School Safety and Security Grants

Brewster Announces $450,000 in School Safety and Security Grants

McKeesport – Oct. 30, 2018 – Sen. Jim Brewster (D- Allegheny/Westmoreland) announced today that $450,000 in School Safety and Security grants were awarded to various school districts in Allegheny and Westmoreland counties.  The grant funding was authorized by the School Safety and Security Committee within the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency.

“Pushing resources out to schools quickly was one of the top priorities of the School Safety and Security Committee,” Brewster said. “Districts can use the funds to help protect students and make our school buildings safer and more secure.” 

Brewster is a member of the School Safety and Security Committee.  He was appointed earlier this year.

Local school districts that received the $25,000 grant allocation include:

  • Baldwin-Whitehall School District (Allegheny County)
  • Brentwood Borough School District (Allegheny County)
  • Clairton City School District (Allegheny County)
  • Duquesne City School District (Allegheny County)
  • East Allegheny School District (Allegheny County)
  • Elizabeth Forward School District (Allegheny County)
  • Gateway School District (Allegheny County)
  • McKeesport Area School District (Allegheny County)
  • Plum Borough School District (Allegheny County)
  • South Allegheny School District (Allegheny County)
  • West Mifflin Area School District (Allegheny County)
  • Woodland Hills School District (Allegheny County)
  • West Jefferson School District (Allegheny County)
  • Burrell School District (Westmoreland County)
  • Kiski Area School District (Westmoreland County)
  • New Kensington-Arnold School District (Westmoreland County)
  • Leechburg Area School District (Westmoreland County)
  • Penn-Trafford Area School District (Westmoreland County)

Gov. Tom Wolf signed Act 44 into law in June of 2018 which established the School Safety and Security Committee. The committee was charged with developing criteria for school safety and security assessments along with issues surveys to measure their safety and security preparedness.  It also administers grants to schools to improve safety and security.

There was a total of $52.5 million allocated to the School Safety and Security Grant Program for the 2018-2019 fiscal year.

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Brewster Appointed to New School Safety and Security Committee

Brewster Appointed to New School Safety and Security Committee

Harrisburg – July 23, 2018 – A longtime advocate of school safety upgrades, state Sen. Jim Brewster (D-Allegheny/Westmoreland) said today that he was appointed to the new School Safety and Security Committee.

The 17-member commission was created in late June with the passage of Act 44.  The goal of the committee is to craft policies and provide grants to stop school and community violence.

“There is a tremendous amount of work to do to protect children in our schools and improve anti-violence efforts in our communities,” Brewster said.  “This new committee has broad and sweeping power, a definitive mandate and appointees with expertise in safety and security to help bolster security and push state-of-the-art solutions.”

As a senator, Brewster has been at the forefront on school safety issues. Earlier this year, he authored a wide-ranging package of legislation to address key areas of school safety. 

Brewster’s three-bill initiative included the formation of a safety committee (similar to the one contained in Act 44), a heightened focus on school building upgrades through the Department of Education’s construction process (PlanCon) and hiring of more school resource officers. 

“I am hopeful the new committee will address the safety needs of school students, teachers and administrators, in addition to focusing efforts on reducing violence in the community,” Brewster said.  “This effort will be ongoing and collaborative — and has the potential to craft policies and fund programs that will really make a difference in protecting our children.”

Act 44 includes a new $60 million grant program.  The committee is being created through the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency. 

Brewster said the new committee will have to get to work immediately.  The new law specifies deadlines for adopting safety and security criteria to be used in school safety assessments.  It must also approve guidelines for selecting security assessment providers by Oct. 31.

Grants from the program may be used for school and security assessments, conflict resolution, behavior supports, diversion, anti-violence programming, risk assessment, security planning, counseling, training and bullying prevention among other things.  Community anti-violence programs will be funded through a $7.5 million set-aside.

The first meeting of the committee will be held on July 23.  Brewster was appointed by Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa (D-Allegheny).

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