District's request for around $216K was part of 1,200 applications seeking $255 million submitted by districts across Minnesota.

    The Crookston School District is not among the 90 public school districts in the state awarded this week by the Minnesota Department of Education $25 million in safety grants aimed at security and violence-prevention improvements.

    In the wake of concerns voiced earlier this summer by school board members about the public-address system at Crookston High School needing improvements and in its current condition not able to reach the entire school – board chair Frank Fee said if there was an emergency, some areas of the school wouldn’t hear about it over the PA system – the school district applied for a little more than $215,000 in grants. Of that, $180,000 was targeted at CHS, with around $110,000 of that amount focused on improving the building’s PA system. The rest of the grant application sought funding in small amounts for initiatives at Highland and Washington schools.

    “We are obviously disappointed not to be on the funded list,” Superintendent Jeremy Olson told the Times. “However, we were expecting this once the results from the state were put out showing that the requests were 10 times higher than the available funding.”

    That’s true. The list of funded school districts released by the MDE is far shorter than the list of unfunded grant applications. But some area school districts are the recipients of significant dollars. The Ada-Borup district will receive $512,726 for securing school entrances, Fertile-Beltrami schools will receive $439,400, mostly for securing entrances, and Red Lake Falls schools will receive $40,000 for safety improvements.

    School districts on the list of unfunded applications include East Grand Forks, which sought approximately $450,000, Fisher schools, which sought $83,500, and the Fosston School District, which sought approximately $912,000. Overall, 1,187 applications seeking approximately $255 million in grants were not funded by the MDE.

    The Minnesota Legislature in 2018 made $25 million in school safety grants available.

    Asked what the next steps are as he works with his administrators and school board members on safety issues in the three public schools, especially the PA system at CHS, Olson said that is yet to be determined. “We will be in the process of determining priorities and what we have available to spend,” he said.