School safety grant applications flood into Wisconsin DOJ before deadline

NOW: School safety grant applications flood into Wisconsin DOJ before deadline

More than 400 applications had been sent to the Wisconsin Department of Justice by Thursday night.

The deadline is Friday. By the end of May, only 33 applications had been submitted. The $100 million in grants was Gov Scott Walker's response to the Parkland school shooting in Florida.

St. Francis Superintendent Blake Peuse said that shooting made him think about his own students.

"Seeing something like that happen is very disturbing obviously, Peuse said. And it's heartbreaking. And it's really something that you think about every day when you wake up."

District finance director Jonathan Mitchell says the district was quick to ask for upgrades.

"Push button locks on all of our doors," Mitchell said. "Replacing aging PA systems."

They're also looking for an electronic entrance system.

"Where you're actually going to take someone's photo ID when they come into the building, and that system can check some national registries against that. It's kind of an in-state background check."

To get the grants, schools had to work on safety plans with local law enforcement. Wauwatosa PD said that's improved communication.

"We've met very extensively with the Wauwatosa school district to discuss what improvements we could make in our schools, and then to prioritize some of those safety improvements," Capt. Brian Zalewski said.

Mitchell says it's a huge financial boost. The district already had a list of upgrades they wanted and just needed the money.

"It's huge because we had a list of items that were really ready before this grant became available," Mitchell. "And you're always doing that balancing act of having academic priorities for the district, but having the priority overall to the community that students are going to be safe."

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