Back to School: How much is your school district spending on safety?

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — Keeping kids safe at school is one of the most important things parents look for when sending their child to school. With the recent spike in incidents happening at school, it got us wondering how much your school district is spending to keep your children safe.

For each school district, security fell under their operations category. We’ll start with Fort Wayne Community Schools:

The total budget for the operations fund for the 2021-2022 school year was $77,903,274. For the 2022-2023 school year, that number increased to $84,360,327, which is a 8% increase.

Of the $84 million-dollar budget, $6,269,000 was spent for the other operations category, which went towards things like school resource officers, security cameras, door locks, etc.

In COVID spending, they spent $158,228,412 on things like technology for remote learning, stipends for COVID work, and COVID cleaning.

“We’re going to have enhancements to technology, but mostly, its enhancement of personnel, and availability of staff that have relationships with kids. Even including SRO officers, because I think their primary function is about relationships. Not about punishment, not about, you know, arresting a student. It’s about relationships.”

Mark Daniel, superintendent of Fort Wayne Community Schools

Next, we asked NACS for their budget information. Their total operations fund budget for the 2021-2022 school year was $7,610,603.21.

In the 2022-2023 school year, that budget increased to $8,689,428.91.

NACS spokesperson Kristen Valdez said of that number, $50,000 was budgeted for camera repairs each of the last two years, approximately $320,000 on school resource officers this year and approximately $180,000 last year.

In both years they utilized the Secured School Safety Grant in the amount of $100,000 each year.

“You know and I think more than anything, school safety is more about relationships. I think for us when we’ve been able to determine things that maybe were going to happen that could have had a negative outcome, more often than not, we find that out through students, through our relationships with families and we’re able to offset those things so, you know what we always say is if you know something, tell it. If you see something, tell others. And I think, you know, our community has been very supportive of that.”

Wayne Barker, superintendent of Northwest Allen County Schools

Next, the focus shifts to SACS. Their operations budget for the 2021-2022 school year was $20,528,511.

When asked about the budget spending for this year, they couldn’t provide that, as they had not finished it yet.

We don’t know exactly how much went towards safety, but we do know they applied for and received the $100,000 Secured School Safety Grant from the state.

That money was used towards their five school resource officers- which increased from three last year- along with School Safety Specialist training, Crisis Prevention Institute Training, surveillance cameras on all campuses, school bus camera and audio systems, GPS trackers and seatbelts, alarm systems, keys, key fobs, and things like automatically locking/programmable door locks.

“We want our schools to be as safe as possible, everybody does. The definition of a bad day is any day where something horrible would happen. We plan for those things, we train for those things. We try to keep those plans and trainings kind of under wraps, but it is very very important to what we do.”

Park Ginder, superintendent for Southwest Allen County Schools

For EACS, the 2021-2022 school year, their operations budget was $30,028,306. For the 2022-2023 school year, their total operations budget increased to $32,104,980. That’s just over a $2 million-dollar increase.

Digging deeper into the budget, for the last two school years they have had a $23,500 budget for crossing guards and off-duty security, $64,000 for SRO officers at New Haven High School, and $282,000 for SRO officers in unincorporated areas.

They had $50,000 each year as well for their security camera systems. In total, their budget increased from the 2021-2022 school year to the 2022-2023 school year, going from $559,593 to $567,871– a difference of $8,278.

“I tell you it is our highest priority. I think before students are going to learn, before staff can even teach, and before people want to come to work, they have to know that their safety is of the utmost importance to all of us.”

Marilyn Hissong, superintendent for East Allen County Schools.

With each school district’s budget increasing over the last two years, they have used it to improve safety measures. The number one thing they say they want to do is make sure your child is getting a great education while remaining safe, and they say to ensure that’s happening, they want everyone to adopt the saying: if you see something, say something.