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Iowa promised $75 million for school safety. Two shootings later, the money is largely unspent

Students arrive at Perry Middle School, Jan. 25, 2024, in Perry, Iowa. Middle school students returned to classes for the first time since a high school student opened fire in a shared cafeteria, killing two people and injuring six others. AP PHOTO / CHARLIE NEIBERGALL

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RYAN FOLEY

After an Iowa school shooting left two people dead, Ryan Foley remembered that Gov. Kim Reynolds made a promise after the Uvalde massacre to dedicate $75 million of COVID relief funds to school security in Iowa. Foley made a records request to see how much of that money had been spent and found that 19 months — and two school shootings — later, most schools statewide have yet to receive funding.

The records request and reporting surrounding it resulted in an exclusive story that was used on front pages across Iowa on Friday, and on the front page of the Des Moines Register on Monday.

Foley’s reporting found that the lack of granting awards is partly because local officials have struggled to complete the complex applications. Contractors helping run the program, meanwhile, have received millions.

The Only on AP story was unmatched by competitors.

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