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Safe Schools Act

Safe Schools Act funds are provided to decrease the likelihood of violent or disruptive behavior and to protect students and staff from harm when such behavior may occur.

The funds are available to all Tennessee public school districts and may be used for one or more of the following purposes:

  • Facility security and planning
  • School safety personnel
  • Violence prevention
  • Training and drills
  • Behavioral health

FY 2019-20 School Safety Funding Overview

The Tennessee Department of Education is pleased to announce the availability of expanded funding to enhance the safety and security of Tennessee schools.  As proposed by Governor Bill Lee and approved by the Tennessee General Assembly, funding will be available to every public school district under two broad categories:

1)       School Resource Officer (SRO) grants for LEAs with schools that did not have a full-time school resource officer during the 2018-19 school year. Grants awarded under this category may only be used for expenses directly associated with the assignment of a full-time school resource officer (SRO) in a school that did not have a full-time SRO at any time during the 2018-19 school year. Grant funding under this category may not be used to supplant local funding previously used for this purpose.  Grants awarded under this category will not exceed $ 35,000 per officer per year and are subject to a 25% local match adjusted for the LEA’s fiscal capacity. SROs funded under this grant program must be duly sworn and authorized law enforcement officers in compliance with training standards established under TCA 49-6-4217.  A total of $ 20 million has been reserved under this category.  In order to be eligible to receive an SRO grant the LEA must submit the following:

  • A letter of commitment from the appropriate law enforcement executive (sheriff or chief of police).
  • A school resource officer assignment report that identifies each school and changes in SRO assignment that will result from grant funding.
  • Assurance from the director of schools that the application for grant funds is for schools that did not have a full-time school resource officer during the 2018-19 school year and that the LEA will provide a mid-year SRO assignment report.

2)       Safe Schools grants to assist LEAs in funding programs that address school safety, including, but not limited to, innovative violence prevention programs, conflict resolution, disruptive or assaultive behavior management, improved school security, school resource officers, school safety officers, peer mediation and training for employees on the identification of possible perpetrators of school-related violence. Funding in this category has been increased for FY 2019-20 from $10 million to $20 million. Funding is available to each district based on its relative share of BEP and is subject to a 25% match adjusted for the LEA’s fiscal capacity. Allocation amounts will be announced in early July.  In order to be eligible to receive a Safe Schools grant, the LEA must complete the following:

  • A grant application describing how the funds will be used to improve and support school safety, and, if applicable, how LEA-authorized charter schools will be supported.
  • A security/safety assessment - developed in collaboration with the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security - for every school in the district and a statement within the grant application identifying how grant funds will be used to address the identified needs.
  • Assurance from the director of schools that the LEA is in compliance with all state laws, rules and regulations regarding school safety.
  • An emergency contact roster that identifies school safety leadership for both the LEA and its schools.
  • For LEAs identified on the five-year EOP review cycle, a copy of the emergency operations plan for the LEA and each of its schools.
Date Event
May 29 Announcement of availability of funds
June 27 School Resource Officer grant application released.
July 9 Webinar on Applications
July 17 Safe Schools grant application released.
July 29 Deadline for receipt of SRO grant applications.
September 20 Deadline for receipt of Safe Schools grant applications.
September 30 Completed applications received by deadline approved.

For more information contact Brenna.Morse@tn.gov or Mike.Herrmann@tn.gov.