York County districts, private schools benefit from Safe Schools grants

York City School Police Officer Bryan Einsig has badges for various area police departments in his office at McKinley K-8 Friday, June 8, 2018. He is working on a Public Safety and Emergency Services Program for students in the York City School District. Bill Kalina photo

The state released its 2019-20 Safe Schools grant recipient list recently, and four of the county’s 16 public school districts received grants, along with two private schools.

The competitive grants target specific needs, which are broken down in four categories: equipment, program, school police officer and school resource officer.

About $1.75 million in total was awarded for security-related equipment grants, including three in York County: $24,862 for Dallastown Area, $18,224 for Dover Area and  $24,946 for York City.

West York Area School District was the only public school district in the county to receive a grant for programs. The district received $17,473 out of a total of ​about $1.04 million awarded.

The state awarded a total of $583,378 in police grants and $622,719 in SRO grants. York City got $40,000 for police and $60,000 for SROs, and West York got $60,000 for SROs.

This marks the sixth year for the Safe Schools grant program. 

“The safety and security of our next generation is paramount, which is why I supported these investments," said state Sen. Kristin Phillips-Hill, R-York Township, in a Thursday, Oct. 17, news release.

These grants are in addition to the nearly $60 million in state funding that will be distributed through the School Safety and Security Grant Program, under the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, later this year.

Despite growing safety needs over the years, last year only five of the county's 16 districts, plus the Lincoln Intermediate Unit 12 and York Academy Regional Charter School, received competitive grant money from that program.

More:York County districts shoulder burden as security costs become 'new normal'

Safe Schools has been similarly conservative in its allocation to York County in the past two years. Only three of the county's public school districts received grants last year for a total of $258,828.

This year, two new districts — West York and Dover — were recognized, along with Dallastown and York City returning, for a total of four districts, but the dollar amount dropped slightly to $245,505.

West York board Treasurer George Margetas said while he is pleased his district got something this year, the state could definitely do more.

"As far as this kind of grant, I think they should," he said. "It would be a good idea for the state to pony up a little bit more."

One area in which the state did add more funding was for private schools. New this year is a nonpublic school category for both the equipment and program grants.

Three private schools received program grants under Lincoln Intermediate Unit 12, and six received equipment grants under the LIU, including York Catholic High School.

York Catholic received about $23,544 out of the unit's $91,638 total for the equipment grant.

For a complete list of 2019-20 recipients, visit education.pa.gov.