SOUTHINGTON — For the next month the community can vote for Derynoski School online every day for a chance to win a national grant called Together for Safer Schools for $200,000.
Dozens of schools have registered for a shot to win the grant and the school with the most votes will have Stanley Security products installed. The three runner ups will receive $100,000 in products and services. People can vote once a day, every day leading up to the deadline on Dec. 13.
“We’re hoping to get something,” said Jan Verderame, principal at Derynoski School. “The district has done quite a bit and we could always use some more as far as different things that might enhance the security.”
School Superintendent Joseph V. Erardi Jr. said it’s an opportunity to have security cameras installed, an upgrade with door locks, and other security benefits.
“Anytime that we’re out there looking for grant money and partnership money, it’s terrific,” Erardi said.
Verderame signed the school up for the competition after a parent told her about the opportunity. Since it was easy to do and no cost to sign up, Verderame said it was “worth a try.” It wasn’t because the school is located on a busy main road or for any other reasons that worried Verderame.
“I don’t feel like we’re in a more vulnerable spot,” Verderame said. “But security cameras would probably be number one because it’s a big building and I’d like to have more cameras.”
There are nearly 700 students that attend Derynoski School, the largest elementary school in the district.
“Through the efforts of the town, we have been able to really do a lot of security enhancements,” said Board of Education member David Derynoski. “Any monies that we can get to offset some of the extraordinary costs and student’s security is very welcome.”
Last week Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s office announced additional funds for 435 schools that will help support school security. Southington will be receiving $90,183 from the state’s School Security Grant Program, part of the Gun Violence Prevention and Children’s Safety Act.
“We already implemented many things that we have not discussed publicly for safety reasons, but this will be a feather in our cap to be able to use this money to help improve the safety that we have in place,” said Terry Carmody, a member of the school board.
Winning money from the Together for Safer Schools grant would help even more, she said.
“I still think it’s something that needs to be continually looked at,” Derynoski said. “I think for the time being we’re in pretty good shape.”
Verderame hopes to spread the word and has sent an email to parents of Derynoski School students and added a page about the grant opportunity in the school’s newsletter.
Voting started Nov. 5 and goes until Dec. 13. To vote daily, visit www.stanleysaferschools.com.