Ledyard, Montville receive school security grant funds

Two towns in the region received funding in the first round of a state grant program for school security, according to a press release Wednesday from Gov. Dannel P. Malloy.

As part of the Gun Violence Prevention and Children's Safety Act, the competitive grant program for school security awarded $5 million to 169 schools in 36 districts — including six schools in Ledyard and one school in Montville — to reimburse municipalities for some of the costs of security improvements made after the December shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown.

Each municipality will be reimbursed between 20 and 80 percent, depending on town wealth. The towns will also contribute to a portion of the projects' costs.

The Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection received 111 applications for projects in 604 school buildings, such as installation of bulletproof glass, electric locks and panic alarms.

A future round of funding will be announced "soon," according to the statement.

"We will never be able to prevent every random act, but we can take the steps necessary to make sure that our children and our teachers are as safe as possible," Malloy said in the release. "This funding allows districts with the most need to implement modern security measures that will make schools safer."

Ledyard Superintendent of Schools Michael Graner said the school district had applied for reimbursement of the addition of walls and doors to the formerly open-cluster classroom setup at Ledyard Middle School — a project completed this past spring — and the installation of a new communications system at Ledyard High School, which was in place before the start of this school year.

The bulk of the $233,523 awarded to the Ledyard school district will go toward new security cameras to be installed in all of the schools. Business manager Bill Merrill said $85,000 of the town's $131,748 contribution has already been spent on the first two projects.

Montville Acting Superintendent Brian Levesque said the district applied for a $200,000 reimbursement but only received $5,047 for a project at one school.

The district had already committed money to several projects, including new card swipe entry systems for the schools, additional points of entry to buildings and improvements to the schools' camera systems.

Levesque said he is not yet certain what program the state funded but believes the money is intended to reimburse the installation of a card swipe system at Palmer Academy, the district's alternative high school.

The Montville superintendent said he had been hoping for more money but that "every little bit helps."

a.isaacs@theday.com

Staff Writer Kelly Catalfamo contributed to this report.

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