COLORADO SPRINGS— Widefield School District 3 (WSD3) received $1.1 million from School Access For Emergency Response (SAFER) grant funding. 

State legislature in 2018 created SAFER grants by Senate Bill 18-158. 

“At the time what the legislature was seeking to do was increase interoperable communications between school districts and emergency responders,” said Austin Geddis, School Emergency Response Program Manager. 

School districts applied for SAFER grant funding online and a grant selection committee chose the recipients.

“The state legislature appoints a number of members to the selection committee,” said Geddis. “We created an application that fit the tone in between the responsibilities of the legislation that school districts complete.”

Seven school districts and two boards of cooperative educational services were selected to receive SAFER grant funds including WSD3.

“It’s a great opportunity for us to just add another layer of support for us with when it comes to crisis situations in our school district,” said Aaron Hoffman, Executive Director Secondary Student Learning.

WSD3 partnered with SchoolSAFE to create two-way radios to improve crisis communication.

“Essentially what it does is it gives us the opportunity to get some infrastructures in our school district with radios, tech towers, different types of hardware and software in each of our schools,” said Hoffman.

All 18 school sites in the WSD3 district will recieve these funds.

“It’ll give us the opportunity to communicate directly with first responders,” said Hoffman. “It gives us an unique opportunity to protect the students and staff for whom we serve.”

For SAFER grant information click here.