Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf today announced that $190 million is now available for school entities in the commonwealth to initiate both student mental health programming and physical security enhancements that will support long-term success for Pennsylvania students.
"Over the course of my administration, I have worked hard to ensure that Pennsylvania's schools are adequately funded to provide a quality education for students of all social statuses and put them on a positive path from an early age," said Gov. Wolf. "However, it's become clear that to truly ensure student success we must look at a larger picture.
"Our children have endured a pandemic and incredible social unrest: some have faced poverty or family tragedies, others are simply predisposed to struggling with their mental health. Students need us to invest in programming to support mental clarity, strong social-emotional skills, and stave off feelings of anxiety and depression. It is my hope that these programs increase access to care and provide daily support to grow strong youth with futures unbarred by inaccessible healthcare."
In his final budget, Governor Wolf secured $95 million for School Mental Health Grants—part of the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency's (PCCD) School Mental Health & Safety and Security Program—for behavioral health programming. School Mental Health Grants can be used to support mental health early intervention, self-care and suicide awareness, restorative justice, bullying and bullying prevention, counseling services, staff training, trauma-informed education, and more.
PCCD's School Mental Health & Safety and Security Program includes another $95 million for Physical School Safety & Security Grants for 2022-23 school year improvements.
"It's unfortunate that we live in a world where a building's physical security components can contribute to—or be detrimental to—student success," continued Gov. Wolf. "But in a nation where tragedies like what happened in Uvalde, Buffalo, Pittsburgh at the Tree of Life, and too many more are a regular occurrence, we must ensure schools have the necessary funding to protect the innocent lives learning within their walls with top of the line security."
The School Safety & Security Grants supports a wide variety of safety improvements and violence prevention programming including metal detectors, specialty trained canines, surveillance equipment, electronic locks and deadbolts, trauma kits, staff and student training programs, student discipline programming support, and cost associated with the training and compensation of school resource officers and school police officers.
School entities including school districts, career and technical schools, intermediate units, charter schools, regional charter schools, and cyber charter schools are eligible to apply for these program administered by PCCD through the School Mental Health & Safety and Security Program. Guidelines and information on how to apply can be found at pccd.pa.gov under School Safety. The program will be accepting applications through Wednesday, August 31, 2022.
Governor Wolf recently solidified his commitment to education at all levels with a historic $1.8 billion investment increase. The Wolf Administration has increased education funding by more than $3.7 billion since 2015.
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