Champaign schools get $230,000 grant

Champaign -- Nearly 450 schools across Illinois will receive $25 million to keep students safe, and Champaign Unit School District #4 is getting a good chunk of that change.

More than $230,000 is coming to Champaign schools thanks to a grant from the Illinois Emergency Management Agency. The district received the full amount it requested when it applied for the Illinois School and Campus Safety grant.

The money that has been awarded will be used to install state-of-the-art security camera systems at five Champaign schools, including Centennial High School, Booker T. Washington STEM Academy, and all three middle schools in the district.

Every school in the district already has cameras, but the new additions will provide back up for the existing systems, as well as added coverage in areas that are not currently monitored.

District officials say it will help secure the safety of students.

"If an incident occurs at our school, if we take a look at those back up tapes, we can provide them to police," said district spokesperson Stephanie Stuart. "It helps in their investigations, it increases communication. and really just the documentation of what's taking place on our campuses, so it's a great solution for us long term."

Another long term safety solution the district wants to explore is constructing vestibules in the front of all Champaign schools so that visitors are forced to sign in when they walk through the front door.

As for the cameras, there is no set installation date, but Stuart says they could come as early as this summer.

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