Monday, April 22nd, 2024 Church Directory

4 local school districts receive school violence prevention grants

Monticello, Becker, and Big Lake Public Schools, along with Sherburne Northern Wright Special 

Education Cooperative, Receive Federal Dollars to Improve Security at School and on School Grounds

Monticello School District, in partnership with Becker and Big Lake School Districts, as well as the Sherburne Northern Wright Special Education Cooperative (SNWSEC or COOP), has been awarded a $499,875 School Violence Prevention Program (SVPP) grant from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS).

The goal of the School Violence Prevention Program is to improve security at schools and on school grounds through the implementation of school safety programs and technology.

This will happen locally by enhancing camera technologies at each school district named above and creating a safety collaborative supported by the districts, as well as Wright and Sherburne County Sheriff’s Offices.

“We are honored to receive this funding from the Department of Justice,” says Eric Olson, Monticello Public Schools Superintendent. “School safety is the number one priority for Monticello, Becker and Big Lake Schools, as well as the COOP. Monticello, Becker and Big Lake schools have a 50 year history of collaboration through the COOP, and it’s exciting to extend that to our common violence prevention needs and a desire to coordinate safety efforts.”

The grant activities will occur over a three year period, from October 1, 2023 to September 30, 2026, ultimately increasing capacity to implement school safety, reducing notification times to law enforcement, improving response time to threats and events, accurately identifying danger and follow up, increasing interaction and improving information sharing with law enforcement.

The safety collaborative will; 

1.) Share information about how the new cameras inform safety measures and; 

2.) Exchange violence prevention and crisis planning materials to pass on recommendations to the school safety teams and committees. 

It will also be responsible for conducting a comprehensive safety assessment at each school district.

The districts worked hand-in-hand with both Wright and Sherburne Sheriff’s Offices to put together the grant application. Monticello has two Wright County School Resource Officers. Becker and Big Lake have one Sherburne County School Resource Officer at each district. Monticello and Becker Public Schools have been partnering with their respective Sheriff’s Office since 1999. Big Lake has been partnering with Sherburne County Sheriff’s Office since 2008. 

The COOP operates within the three school districts and benefits from all safety efforts and relationships.

“The sheriff’s offices have provided exceptional service to our school districts for many years, and it’s wonderful to see the collaboration grow,” adds Superintendent Olson.

Between 2018 and 2022, the COPS Office awarded nearly $233 million through SVPP. In 2023, the COPS Office received 1,022 applications in 50 states, providing 206 awards totaling $73,619,458. Monticello Public Schools (in partnership with Becker, Big Lake and SNWSEC) was one of five Minnesota districts awarded in 2023 and received the largest award in the state of Minnesota.

Monticello School District is the grant recipient and fiscal host for this opportunity. Becker School District, Big Lake School District and SNWSEC are serving as subrecipients.

Together the four school districts have 14 buildings and a collective student population of 10,041. Nationally, 71 percent of awards were given to rural schools, and overall, 1.5 million students will benefit from the funded projects.

More information about the School Violence Prevention Program is available at cops.usdoj.gov/svpp.