Madden, Probst announce Safe Schools grants awarded to East Stroudsburg, Pocono Mountain school districts

HARRISBURG, Feb. 21 – State Reps. Maureen Madden and Tarah Probst announced today that a pair of Monroe County public school districts have been awarded competitive safety and security grants.

East Stroudsburg Area School District and Pocono Mountain School District will receive $117,255 and $45,000, respectively, through the competitive Safe Schools Targeted Grant Program. Grants can be used to create safer school communities in a variety of ways, including purchasing safety equipment, implementing new programs, and hiring security personnel and school resource officers, according to a recent news release from Gov. Josh Shapiro.

“After far too many senseless tragedies at educational institutions across this country, it remains painfully clear that more must be done to keep students and faculty safe,” said Madden, whose 115th Legislative District includes both East Stroudsburg and Pocono Mountain school districts. “I am grateful to Governor Shapiro and his administration for awarding these grants to deserving schools here in Monroe County and across the commonwealth.”

Added Probst, whose 189th Legislative District includes East Stroudsburg School District: “Anything we as state legislators and state officials can do to help solidify the safety and security of children, teachers and staff, it’s paramount we do that. It breaks my heart to read about the latest unfathomable act of violence at an institution of learning, but I am also heartened that here in Pennsylvania, we’re taking steps like this to promote safety in schools.”

East Stroudsburg earned two grants: $45,039 in equipment funding, and $72,215 in School Police Officer funding.

“We are delighted to have this opportunity to make some important safety improvements for the protection of our students and staff,” said Angela Byrne, grants coordinator for East Stroudsburg Area School District.

Byrne said the SPO grant will allow the district to hire an additional SPO who will be assigned to its North Campus, enhancing school safety and security and improving school climate by fostering a safe learning environment and making positive connections with students as a role model and mentor. The equipment grant, she said, will allow the district to replace outdated PA systems in two schools with special emergency communications equipment that has enhanced functionalities to improve critical communications, including panic buttons that immediately alert district police, administrations and local law enforcement.

Pocono Mountain was awarded $45,000 in equipment and/or program funding.

“Pocono Mountain School District is very appreciative of the $45,000 school safety equipment grant funding we receive from the state,” said Dr. Elizabeth Robison, superintendent for the district. “We worked very hard on the application for this competitive grant.”

The funding, Robison said, will help Pocono Mountain add to and enhance physical security measures by upgrading and expanding indoor and outdoor school camera systems.

“Our district takes a layered approach to safety, combining the use of physical measures with other programs, training and policy measures to keep our students, staff and schools safe,” Robison continued. “The PA school safety grants we have earned over the past several years through the competitive application process have helped fund many important safety initiatives and priorities for our schools in Pocono Mountain School District.”

The Safe Schools Targeted Grant Program is awarded through the Pennsylvania Department of Education. A full list of statewide awardees is available online.