The Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency’s (PCCD) School Safety and Security Committee has awarded Charleroi School District a $521,498 grant for school safety initiatives.
Per Act 44, school districts, intermediate units, area vocational-technical schools, charter schools and private residential rehabilitation institutions were eligible to apply up to a maximum of $6 million to support one or more activities allowed by the statute. The School Safety and Security committee approved $40 million in school safety grants to 234 school entities plus $7.5 million in community violence prevention and reduction grants to 25 grant recipients throughout the commonwealth. Charleroi School District received one of the top 10 highest financial awards in the state.
According to Crystal Clark Zahand, business manager for Charleroi School District, the grant money will be used to fund five projects: security vestibules ($200,000), exterior door replacement ($198,000), social worker ($75,600), identification fob/badge system door lock entry system ($32,000) and a global positioning system for the district’s bus fleet ($16,298).
Zahand, who partnered with Terry Planton, a local grant writer, and other members of the administrative team to apply for the grant, noted that the district performed a thorough analysis to identify high-priority security needs throughout Charleroi’s campus.
“We are excited to embark on this journey of a continuous improvement cycle relating to the health, safety and welfare of our children and entire learning community,” said Zahand. “Together, we were able to use the strengths of our team to achieve this amazing grant opportunity.”
Charleroi School District hopes to begin these projects this summer and have some of them in place for the 2019-2020 school year.
School Board President Kenneth Wiltz said that given the district’s current fiscal constraints, it would not be possible to add a social worker without the grant.
“I can’t stress enough how important it is to have social workers available to help support children and assist families in need,” said Wiltz.
Added Superintendent Dr. Edward Zelich, “We are very proud of the teamwork to get this grant. Mr. Planton and Crystal Zahand worked very hard to make sure the grant application was submitted on time. This grant will provide our district with an unbelievable opportunity to increase the safety and security of our students, faculty and parents throughout our learning community.”