On June 14, 2022, Gov. Reynolds announced $100 million in school safety funding to support Iowa’s 327 public school districts and 183 nonpublic and independent schools during a press conference with the Department of Public Safety, Department of Education, and the Department Homeland Security and Emergency Management.

Initial funding is being made through the use of American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act and Emergency and Secondary Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds. A breakdown of the fund is:

  • $75M - School Safety Improvement Fund (target hardening/security improvements)  
  • $7.5M - Vulnerability assessments for all 1,500 K-12 school buildings 
  • $6M - Digital critical incident mapping technology  
  • $4.5M - Radios for schools  
  • $1.5M - Digital applications and software for threat reporting and monitoring 
  • $5.5M - School Safety Bureau operational funding through 2026 Implementation of Services

The Governor’s School Safety Bureau will provide assistance and tools to identify, report, and assess school-based threats while still embracing local control.

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Safe+Sound Iowa: School Safety Reporting System

A free anonymous K-12 school safety reporting system is now available to help prevent violence, unlawful possession of weapons, self-harm and other forms of victimization and threatening behaviors in schools across the state. 

The Safe+Sound Iowa program is available to students, school staff, parents and concerned community members to help identify and provide intervention for students in crisis before they hurt themselves or others. Reports of safety concerns can be made securely and anonymously three ways: 

  1. Downloading and using the free Safe+Sound Iowa app 
  2. Going to SafeandSoundIowa.gov, or
  3. Calling 800-224-6018 

Trained dispatchers monitor reports made through Safe+Sound Iowa 24/7 and immediately engage in two-way communication with those raising concerns to ensure the information is vetted. Dispatchers then share information with the appropriate local school safety contact, law enforcement or other community partners so outreach and support can be provided to the student in crisis. 

For schools participating in the Safe+Sound Iowa program, a variety of resources are available to help train staff and encourage students and others to use the reporting tools available, including:

  • Mobile App How-To-Video demonstrating how to use the Safe+Sound Iowa app and submit a report
  • How It Works Video
  • How It Works Guidebook detailing what Safe+Sound Iowa is and how it works, with answers to frequently asked questions 
  • Introductory PowerPoint introducing Safe+Sound Iowa to with tips on how to use it, and how to talk about it with parents, students and the community to encourage awareness and use 
  • Single Page Informational Flyer about Safe+Sound Iowa to post or share with others 
  • Downloadable Posters for print and use in promoting Safe+Sound Iowa to middle and high school students
  • Social Media Toolkit to post content on social media channels that informs and amplifies core messages, and allows constituents to repost content
  • Branded Digital Graphics in a variety of sizes to reinforce messages on websites, newsletters and correspondence
  • Message templates for school administrators to use when communicating to teachers and staff and parents about Safe+Sound Iowa being made available in your district

School districts and communities are encouraged to become familiar with these materials. Additional tools will continue to be added to SafeandSoundIowa.gov to help support promotion and adoption of the program, so continue to check back often. 

Safe+Sound Iowa is a valuable resource in supporting schools, local law enforcement and other community partners in working together to prevent and protect against acts of violence. Schools may opt-in at any time. 

If your school has chosen not to participate, you will still want to be notified when a threat impacts one of your schools. For that reason, the Governor’s School Safety Bureau asks you to complete this School Safety Contact Form, if you have not done so already, so that you can be notified if a report impacts one of your district’s students or buildings. To learn more about providing contacts, see the Frequently Asked Questions.

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Critical Incident Mapping

The state has contracted with GeoComm, a third-party vendor, to provide critical incident mapping services to schools in Iowa. The services include creation of detailed Geographic Information Systems (GIS) maps of schools, including indoors, and mapping software for use during emergency incidents in and around schools.

Critical incident mapping will empower schools and emergency responders to visualize emergency incidents and other critical information on top of newly developed digital school maps to aid in decreasing response times to school emergencies. Along with creating detailed maps of schools, GeoComm will provide secure web browser-based and mobile mapping applications to provide access to school maps and communicate critical information to identified personnel and first responders.

There is no cost for schools to participate in these services.

How to Initiate the Process

Districts and nonpublic schools interested in critical incident mapping should confirm interest and provide appropriate contact information by completing a short survey in the Consolidated Accountability and Support Application (CASA). GeoComm will reach out to the contact provided to schedule an onsite meeting to gather verification information and data. 

Meetings with interested schools will start this spring with the bulk of the work being done over the summer.

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Vulnerability Assessment and School Safety Improvement Fund

Vulnerability Assessment

For questions related to School Safety Vulnerability Assessments and/or the School Safety Grant, contact the Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEMD) at schoolsafetygrant@iowa.gov. HSEMD will be able to assist you with vulnerability assessment questions. Also HSEMD, along with contracted vendor AG Witt, administers the School Safety Grant and both are happy to assist you in School Safety Grant questions.

School Safety Improvement Fund

Up to $50,000 per school building will be made available through the School Safety Improvement Fund for schools to implement recommended safety measure capital improvements identified through the vulnerability assessment.

In addition to completing a vulnerability assessment, superintendents and head nonpublic school administrators must also complete the School Safety Improvement Funding Notice of Interest (NOI) Survey to indicate their interest in applying for these funds. The survey is located in the  “Other” folder on the main CASA dashboard. Superintendents and head nonpublic school administrators must complete this survey before Sept. 1, 2024, to indicate interest in applying for up to $50,000 per school building in School Safety Improvement Grant funds to implement recommended safety capital improvements identified through the vulnerability assessment. Only one response is needed per district/nonpublic school. Districts and nonpublic schools that indicate interest in applying for these funds will be sent application materials. Additional information concerning this grant funding opportunity can be found within the Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) and associated Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).

If you have questions or technical difficulties regarding the school safety grant application, contact the Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management by email at schoolsafetygrant@iowa.gov.

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