Act 55 of 2022 creates new, formula-based grant programs for school safety and security, and school mental health initiatives. Per Act 55, $190 million will be distributed by the PA Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD), to support this initiative: $95 million of which is dedicated to mental health initiatives and $95 million dedicated to physical security enhancements. School entities including school districts, career and technical school, intermediate units and charter schools are eligible to apply for the grants. The program is accepting applications now through Wednesday, August 31, 2022. Applications are only accepted through PCCD’s Egrants system. Applicants must register in Egrants prior to applying.
The objective of the grant program is to ensure that school entities meet Tier 1 of the Baseline Criteria Guidance for Physical Security, Behavioral Health and School Climate. These criteria were developed to organize safety and security-related equipment, trainings, policies, programs and activities into a tiered structure (i.e., from Tier 1, which includes the most basic physical and behavioral health safety elements, to Tier 3, which includes the most comprehensive elements). School entities should review these Baseline Criteria before they submit their grant application to determine what criteria their school entity currently meets and where additional investments may be needed. Tier 1 criteria must be satisfied before school entities may utilize these resources for other eligible program activities and expenses.
Act 55 requires school entities to complete a survey to measure mental health services. Those schools that are applying for the grants must take the survey. All data collected through the survey will remain confidential and exempt from access under the Right-to-Know Law. Act 55 also includes provisions for new requirements for School Safety and Security Coordinators, training and professional development requirements for current and future school personnel, and threat assessment training, education and awareness requirements.