School Security

The K-12 School’s Guide to the American Rescue Plan

6 Min Read | March 26, 2021
students walking to class

The American Rescue Plan (ARP), enacted on March 11, 2021, provides $130 billion in K-12 education funding to support schools in safely reopening.

The K-12 School’s Guide to the American Rescue Plan

Learn how to Leverage ARP Funding for School Security 

The American Rescue Plan (ARP), enacted on March 11, 2021, provides $130 billion in K-12 education funding to support schools in safely reopening.

This blog post is designed to serve as a guide to help K-12 schools navigate this new funding to leverage for school security and health and safety solutions. Check out the infographic below and continue reading for more helpful insights!

Understanding the ARP’s K-12 Education Funding for School Security 

For K-12 schools, the ARP funding is allocated through the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund. It is distributed – based on the Title I enrollment numbers – to public schools through state education departments and to private and parochial schools through local educational authorities (LEAs).

Each state identifies an LEA differently – some legislate by region, others by county or city. Be sure to check with your individual state to seek out your LEA.


Check how much K-12 education funding has been allocated to your state.

While 20% of ESSER funds must be reserved to address students’ learning loss, the remaining monies can be used for a wide range of activities to address schools’ needs and challenges arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.

This includes using the K-12 education funding to implement technologies and measures to help with mitigation and reopening strategies.

How K-12 Schools Can Enhance Health, Safety & School Security with ARP Funds

For example, schools may install touchless automatic doors to stop the spread of germs on exterior doors, restrooms, teachers-only rooms, offices and more. These solutions help schools:

  • Eliminate contact points to help stop the spread of germs
  • Help safeguard and reduce the spread of future viruses
  • Enable easy access for people of all abilities
  • Create touchless access for exterior as well as interior doors

Touchless interior doors are particularly important for creating a healthy environment, as a school’s bathroom door handles, alone, are touched up to 2,000 times in one day and harbor up to 40,000 harmful germs per square inch, estimates show.

Explore Touchless Doors

Other research suggests a significant need for schools to update or enhance existing life safety and security systems.

According to the 2021 Infrastructure Report Card, more than half of public school districts surveyed in 2020 needed to update or replace multiple building systems – and nearly one-third of security systems in public schools were in “fair” or “poor” condition.

Limited budgets have prevented schools from upgrading or implementing security technology in the past, but they now have the opportunity to tap into $130 billion in K-12 education funding from the ARP.

It’s worth noting the significant increase in education funding provided by the ARP, compared to what was provided by the previous stimulus bill. The ARP has allocated a combined $170 billion to K-12 and higher education – more than five times the amount that was allocated by the CARES Act.

Further, less than half of the CARES Act education funding was claimed, leaving billions of dollars on table. With this new round of emergency grant funding, K-12 schools can make much-needed improvements to not only address today’s challenges but to prepare for the future.

K-12 schools may use ARP funding to update or enhance existing school security solutions, or implement new integrated health and safety solutions that help them:

  • Manage access and people flow
  • Efficiently screen students, staff and visitors
  • Automate occupancy tracking
  • Enhance emergency communications
  • Manage social distancing

Other measures of safety may include implementing intrusion detection, video surveillance systems, access control, fire alarms, visitor management systems, gunshot or weapons detection, or other means to help keep school environments safe.

Get Help Accessing & Leveraging ARP Funds for your School Security 

Important: The deadline for claiming ARP funds has been extended to December 31, 2021, with the ability to expend the funding for two calendar years afterward.

Ultimately, creating a safe and secure learning environment means being able to mitigate health and safety risks effectively and efficiently.
Experts across STANLEY Security can help K-12 schools navigate the noise and determine a strategy for leveraging ARP funds that can help bring students, teachers, administrators and staff back through their doors safely.

Connect with us to get started today. Click the buttons in the section above to chat with STANLEY Security experts about your ARP funds and the opportunity to enhance health, safety and security at your school.

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