State Rep. Nathaniel Ledbetter, R – Rainsville, on Monday announced almost $3.2 million in new funding is being made available for school security enhancements, technology upgrades, and other needs in DeKalb County and Fort Payne City Schools.

The new funding, which is based upon student populations, will be divided with $2,340,700 going to DeKalb County schools and $853,568 being awarded to Fort Payne City Schools.

Ledbetter, who serves as House Majority Leader, released the following statement along with his announcement of the new funding being made available.

“Two of the most important tasks that educators have today is implementing security upgrades and protocols that keep our children free from harm and providing the resources necessary to prepare them for the 21st Century workforce.

To assist in meeting those goals, almost $3.2 million in new dollars will be awarded to schools in my House district, and these funds from the Alabama Advancement and Technology Fund may be used to purchase education technology and equipment, complete needed repairs and maintenance, and upgrade school bus fleets.

Because we recognize the importance of keeping our children, teachers, and administrators safe and secure while on campus, my colleagues and I passed a law last year allowing school security equipment and enhancements to be purchased with these dollars, as well.

Even before this funding was secured, the Education Trust Fund budget we passed earlier this year provided an increase in new teachers being hired, new dollars flowing directly into the classroom, and a salary raise for our teachers.

Working with the school systems in my district to provide our children with a quality education while ensuring their safety during instructional hours has been a highlight of my political service, and I look forward to continuing those efforts in the future.”

DeKalb County Schools Superintendent Jason Barnett said the funds will “greatly serve” the local schools.

“I am very grateful for the legislatures commitment to funding ongoing and future innovations in technology and security for our students,” Barnett said. “Specifically, I want to thank Majority Leader Ledbetter for his advocacy of our local schools. The allocation of these funds will greatly serve our local schools and provide much needed upgrades in sect and technology integration across our campuses.”

Fort Payne City Schools Superintendent Jim Cunningham said the city school system was awarded $853,568.

“I am very appreciative of our state officials, Representative Nathaniel Ledbetter and Senator Steve Livingston, for their help and support by securing new technology and security funding for all school systems in the state of Alabama,” Cunningham said. “The funding award for Fort Payne City Schools for 2019-2020 school year is $853,568. These funds can be used for security upgrades and resources deemed necessary to prepare students for the 21st Century workforce.”

Cunningham said the school system has budgeted these funds to provide new security camera systems for both the new elementary school and high school and will also add other security upgrades as needed.

“We also have budgeted classroom tools such as chromebooks and promethean boards to be funded through this initiative,” he said. “With the opening of a new school coming soon, these funds could not have come at a better time.”

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