SALEM — Governor Kate Brown today announced that she has dedicated $3.3 million to school safety and violence prevention throughout Oregon. The funding will come from the federal government’s Emergency Education Relief Fund (GEER) dollars, which were reserved for allocations by governors through the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA).
Additionally, the U.S. Department of Education recently informed the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) that Oregon is eligible for over $8.2 million in federal funding from the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act.
“Oregon schools should be safe, welcoming, and inclusive places for every student who walks through their doors,” said Governor Brown. “Every student in Oregon deserves to be safe from gun violence. Every parent should be able to send their child to school knowing they will come home safe. Every teacher and school employee should be able to go to work without fear for their safety or that of the students under their care.”
“With this $3.3 million, school districts can build on their existing violence prevention programs and safety-based crisis intervention systems, as well as their programs to prevent bullying, cyberbullying, harassment, and intimidation, and to promote student mental health and well-being. Combined with incoming funding from the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, school districts will have new resources to keep students safe.”
“Taking steps to ensure schools are welcoming and inclusive to all is key to making them safe places for students to learn and educators to teach,” said ODE Director Colt Gill. “Through Governor Brown’s investment and this federal funding Oregon can amplify its efforts to make sure every person on school grounds feels included, cared for and ready to learn or teach.”
School Safety and Prevention Specialists increased to 19 full-time positions across all 19 education service districts (ESDs)
Combined with Student Success Act dollars and funding from Adi’s Act, the GEER funds will be used to fund new School Safety and Prevention System (SSPS) specialist positions in education service districts serving all 197 school districts across the state. These positions will continue to expand support to bolster the areas of the state in need of additional resources.
This vital funding will result in 8 new full time positions for those who currently rely on other regions for support and 9 regions will utilize additional staffing to make their positions full time.Two ESDs will continue with their existing full time positions unchanged. The overall result includes an increase from 2 full time postions and 9 part time positions across the state to the equivalent of 19 full time positions at all 19 education service districts that serve Oregon districts and schools statewide.
Over the past several weeks, ODE has worked with education service districts (ESDs) across Oregon to answer questions about how this new funding can be spent, and agreements with the ESDs will be finalized this month. Both ODE and the Oregon Association of Education Service Districts (OAESD) jointly held conversations with ESD teams to learn how best to support implementation of the GEER funds. These sessions were established to provide a clear understanding of how the current SSPS positions have developed and how the potential new staffing will support expansion. The team learned from each ESD about their ongoing challenges, their priorities for the coming year, how they intend to utilize the additional FTE, and any support they may need from ODE and OAESD. Given the unique needs of each region of the state, the identified areas of need may differ and the additional funding from GEER may reflect those priorities. The ESDs are developing staffing plans to make the most of this opportunity.