Governor Glenn Youngkin announced $6.5 million in funding to support a digital mapping project of public schools for use by administration and first responders in emergencies. In the Monday evening announcement, Youngkin also touted his recent approval of Delegate Rob Bell’s (R-Albemarle) HB 741, which requires detailed floor plans to be included in already required public school safety audits.
The money is coming from unused administrative funds that accumulated in the School Resource Officer Grant Program, according to Virginia Center for School and Campus Safety and Public Safety Training Director Donna Michaelis. The $6.5 million will provide up to $3,500 per public school, but school divisions need to apply on the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Service’s (DCJS) website, select from a list of six vendors of the mapping technology, and have the maps completed before being reimbursed.
“In this day and age, every school should have accurate and accessible maps,” Bell said in the press release. “This information is the first step in ensuring the best possible outcome to any emergency.”
Youngkin also recently signed Delegate Kim Taylor’s (R-Dinwiddie) bill requiring the schools to collaborate with local law enforcement and share the results of the mandatory school safety audits.
“As a parent of a child enrolled in a public school, I am excited that DCJS is offering this program,” Director of the Department of Criminal Justice Services Jackson Miller said. “The Digital Mapping Program is one of many ways DCJS is supporting collaboration between schools and first responders.”