Washington County school district receives $500,000 grant

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CHIPLEY, Fla. (WMBB) — The Washington County school district is celebrating after receiving the largest grant in the state from the department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services School Violence Prevention Program.

Kimberly Register, the safety director for Washington County schools, said being awarded a grant of half a million dollars is a huge accomplishment for the district.

“It was an accomplishment,” Register said. “It was a big shot but I’ve also gone into things saying if we don’t apply for it, we’re never going to get it.”

Register said because the school district isn’t that large and only has around 3,400 students, it makes it harder for the district to get more resources to upgrade their schools.

“We still have schools, we still have safety measures we have to put in place and it doesn’t matter how small your school district is, those things still have to happen,” Register said.

Washington County Superintendent, Joe Taylor, said their first priority is to make all of their schools have only one entry point. He said this is a new requirement set by the state.

“Our goal is to do that and it’ll involve fencing, the single point as far as remodeling some of the office to make certain we can do that,” Taylor said.

School board officials say the half million dollars awarded to them will now expedite their plan to put these safety measures into place.

“I really think we would have been outwards of 5 to 10 years to get everything in place with the financial resources that come to a small district based on the FTE allegations,” Register said.

The school district has been working on their plans to improve school safety for the last two years. Register said without their plan, they probably would not have been awarded the grant.

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