There’s good news and there’s bad news.
- The good: Reinforcements are on their way. The federal government created a new grant program to ease the burden on school districts in their constant battle against an increasingly malicious cybersecurity landscape.
- The bad: The extremely tight window to apply for funding passed on Nov. 15. Nonetheless, there’s still a chance your school district can receive a slice of the $1 billion pie.
Let’s explore the ins and outs of the federal government’s new State and Local Cybersecurity Program (SLCGP). From the details and requirements of the program to how your district might benefit, we’ll walk you through all you need to know about the opportunity.
WHAT IS THE STATE AND LOCAL CYBERSECURITY GRANT PROGRAM?
In November 2021, President Biden signed a $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act — better known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The bill gave state and local governments resources through which they could improve roads, bridges, broadband, and other essential components of their infrastructure.
Through this legislation, Congress also established the State and Local Cybersecurity Grant Program. It’s a first-of-its-kind initiative that empowers the federal government to make targeted cybersecurity improvements within state, local, and territory government agencies. A total of $1 billion will be distributed over the next four years.
Okay — so what does this mean for your school district? How does this involve K-12 education?
According to K-12 Dive, schools cannot directly apply for the program. However, they can work with state and local governments to acquire funding. Per the SLCGP’s fact sheet, local governments are defined by law as a county, municipality, city, town, township, local public authority, or a school district. Likewise, a minimum of 80% of the state allocations must be passed down to the local level (i.e., school districts and other local entities).
That means schools can still access federal funding, albeit with a few caveats.
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