OU Advocacy: New PA School Safety Grant Includes All Schools

25 Oct 2013

Pennsylvania has opened its application process for non-public schools to apply for its School Resource Office-Municipality Targeted Grant, potentially putting millions of dollars on the table for Jewish day school security funding. As part of the Pennsylvania’s Safe School Legislation that was passed in July 2013, the School Resource Office-Municipality Targeted Grant is specifically available for non-public schools, which must apply for funding through their municipalities. This grant will fund the training and compensation of school resource officers.

Pennsylvania’s Safe School Legislation is unique in that it allows schools to use the funding for personnel. Other security grant programs such as the Federal Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI) grant and New Jersey’s non-profit security grant only allow the purchasing of target hardening equipment.

Pennsylvania’s law was developed to help those schools that do not have funds available for safety personnel.

OU Advocacy-PA worked alongside the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference to ensure that non-public schools would be included in the bill.

Jewish day schools must apply for this funding through their local municipality, since, in accordance with Pennsylvania law, non-public schools cannot receive money directly from the state. OU Advocacy Associate Regional Director for Pennsylvania Michelle Twersky is helping day schools get in touch with their municipalities in order to apply.

“Pennsylvania’s School Safety Grant program is a great asset for all schools, but particularly for those schools that lack the funding for school safety,” said Ms. Twersky. “Through research and consultation with local Jewish day schools, we found that their top issue after tuition affordability is security—so we especially appreciate that this grant program was expanded to include all schools, both public and private.”

“The program will assist all schools throughout the state in making sure they are safe,” Ms. Twersky added.

The deadline for submission of the application for the School Resource Officer-Municipality Targeted Grant is November 22, 2013.

The OU Advocacy Center has long worked on the issue of safety and security for our schools and communities and regularly engages with senior officials to ensure the timely and practical flow of information important to our constituents’ safety. In addition, OU Advocacy joined with other major national organizations and Congressional allies to create the Nonprofit Security Grant Program in 2005, which has secured more than $100 million for nonprofit organizations, including synagogues and day schools.

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The Orthodox Union is the nation’s largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization; the OU Advocacy Center, formerly the Institute for Public Affairs, is the non-partisan public policy arm of the OU and leads its advocacy efforts in Washington, DC and state capitals.
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