Arizona awarded over $20M in federal funds for school safety
PHOENIX — The United States Department of Education awarded $20,826,927 to Arizona as part of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, the department announced Wednesday.
The Stronger Connections grants, which totaled $1 billion across 56 states and territories, are intended to assist in providing support and safety resources to students, according to a press release.
States have final say in how the funds are used, but the Department of Education encouraged chief state school officers in a letter to prioritize three areas: Finding evidence-based strategies for students’ social, emotional, physical and mental well-beings; creating safe, inclusive and supportive learning environments and designing practices that advance equity and are responsive to underserved students.
“We have years of evidence that demonstrate the value of building safe and supportive schools. These efforts improve academic achievement, promote emotional well-being, reduce disciplinary actions, and increase positive behaviors,” U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said in the release.
The funds under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 can also be used to prevent and respond to acts of bullying and violence that impact school communities, according to the release.
“Safe and supportive schools help our children and youth overcome challenges and provide a strong foundation for school safety. These grants will provide real benefits to real students in real schools,” Cardona said.
The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act became was enacted this year to regulate firearms and invest in mental health services and violence prevention measures.
Arizona Democratic senators Mark Kelly and Kyrsten Sinema worked on the bill.