On Jan. 1, school districts across Illinois will have the ability to submit grant requests for millions of available dollars in funding.
Last year, the state legislature approved new funding that can cover costs for a range of security measures, including upgrades for metal detectors, professional development and safety training for district officials and resources for school health centers, according to Northern Public Radio.
Jeff Keicher, a Republican state representative who supported the measure, said there are several different solutions that must be available for school districts.
“There’s no one size fits all,” Keicher told the news outlet. “You have different communities that have different needs; you have different buildings that are different ages.”
He added that the new funding may loosen restrictions for districts trying to develop new, innovative solutions that do not necessarily follow state guidelines.
“It’s also a hope that through this granting mechanism, if we come up with a great innovative idea, maybe we can pull back some of the some of the requirements that don’t make sense,” Keicher said.
Legislators are not sure how much funding will be immediately available, but the law does state that it will prioritize under-resourced schools across the state.
The law will go into effect as members of the Illinois Association of School Boards continue to internally debate the merits of arming staff members that are not school resource officers. Last month, the IASB voted to support a bill that would give more funding to districts seeking to hire officers. For the second year in a row, the association also voted against supporting a bill that would give districts permission to train and arm school teachers and staff.