ECS wins Safe Schools grant

By Thomas Wilson
The Elizabethton and Carter County school systems have each been awarded state grants to fund new security programs under the Safe Schools Act.
Elizabethton City Schools will receive $12,773 in a state grant to be used for facility improvements that will enhance campus security, purchase/install monitoring equipment for school campuses and communications equipment. The school system must provide matching dollars of $2,129 to secure the grant.
"It will be used to keep the digital communication system with the elementary schools, middle school, high school and central office," said Regina Cates, principal at T.A. Dugger Junior High School and author of the Safe Schools grant application. "It provides direct contact capability in case of an emergency."
Interim director of Elizabethton City Schools Richard Culver said roughly $8,000 of the grant would fund the purchase of 26 cellular telephones that feature a two-way radio access for administrators at school facilities across the system.
The remainder of the grant will fund installation of three surveillance cameras at T.A. Dugger as well as a security door system for that school. The system's three elementary schools presently have security doors that control access of persons entering the schools, Cates said. The high school and elementary schools presently have video surveillance equipment at their facilities.
The Safe Schools Act of 1998 provides for spending state tax dollars to enhance the safety of Tennessee schools. The General Assembly appropriated $5.09 million in the current fiscal year budget which runs from July 1, 2003, to June 30, 2004, for the Safe Schools program.
Carter County Schools also receive $36,630 in a state grant to be used to provide student resource officers. The county system is required to provide $6,105 in matching funds for the grant.
State Sen. Rusty Crowe, R-Johnson City, and Rep. Jerome Cochran, R-Elizabethton, announced the grants on Thursday. "It's wonderful to see school systems in Carter County continuing to receive these grants in order to enhance school safety and to maintain a safe learning environment in our schools," said Crowe in a released statement.