Minnesota schools may soon apply for grants to improve security

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School districts can soon apply for millions of dollars in grants to help improve security around their campuses, as Governor Dayton and the Minnesota legislature approved that funding this year.

Districts have about a month to get those applications together, and they could receive up to $500,000 per each school site.

One local company said it's ready to meet what it expects to be big demand for its services.

“We were awarded our patents about two weeks before Parkland happened,” said Safe Schools Safe Kids President Jason Horner. 

Horner said its sister company Aaron Carlson Corporation had been working on ballistic protection for years, but the Parkland shooting inspired a new direction.

“And it just struck us that this product we developed for banks and other types of applications will fit perfectly into putting levels of security into schools - the vestibules, the classroom doors, the auditorium,” he said. 

Video provided by the company shows doors and windows stopping bullets from piercing through.

“We're buying the people on the back side of the doors time. A threat's been recognized, the [security guard] or administrator has called the police, and instead of the people on the back side of those walls having seconds to respond, they have tens of seconds or minutes,” Horner said. 

Also in response to Parkland and other school shootings, state lawmakers approved $25 million in grants for school districts and charter schools to help improve safety around their facilities. At least half of that money must go to districts outside of the metro.

“Not every district has a community that is able or willing to add those additional funding based on their property tax or those other mechanisms, so that’s why these types of grants are very important to schools across the state,” said Josh Collins, Communications Director with the Minnesota Department of Education. 

Horner said each classroom door costs about $10,000 to install and his company is ready to go once schools receive the funding.

The big component for protecting schools is we need to start engaging with them now because the applications are due in about a month.

The state begins accepting applications on Aug. 29 and expects a big interest from districts. Those grants will be awarded at the end of September.