The bill creates the Colorado safe student protection program (program) to provide grants to school districts and charter schools to support student safety, including equipment and training to ensure safe student transportation on school buses, and to facilitate the development of a secure website, online application, and mobile application that provide parental notifications about student safety and age-appropriate health and safety information at no cost to parents (secure digital notification and information tools). The department of education (department) operates the grant program and selects a program facilitator to support schools awarded a program grant. The department allocates a portion of the program money to the program facilitator.
Subject to available appropriations, program grants are 3-year grants that cover the 2022-23 through 2024-25 school years. The department annually distributes grant money. A grant recipient may use a grant award to:
- Provide parents with the secure digital notification and information tools;
- Increase the safety of students and the security of school buses by equipping school buses with hardware and software that monitor driver behavior and enable the buses to communicate directly with first responders; and
- Fund relevant school bus safety training, including federal transportation security awareness training.
The program facilitator may be a public benefit corporation or a nonprofit organization that operates with a charitable purpose and must have at least 7 years of experience in student safety, including student transportation safety. The department allocates fifty percent of program money to the program facilitator. The program facilitator must use program money to:
- Support program grant recipients;
- Develop the secure digital notification and information tools;
- Recruit school bus drivers and conduct or facilitate federal transportation security awareness training;
- Develop and make publicly available school bus transportation safety information and age-appropriate student safety educational materials;
- Conduct a statewide awareness campaign to reduce instances of drivers illegally failing to stop for a school bus; and
- Seek additional sources of funding on behalf of the program.
The program is a 3-year program that repeals in 2025. The bill makes an appropriation. The bill appropriates $3.5 million to the department for the program.
(Note: Italicized words indicate new material added to the original summary; dashes through words indicate deletions from the original summary.)
(Note: This summary applies to the reengrossed version of this bill as introduced in the second house.)