Schools in South Central Washington have joined forces with Educational School District 105 to form what is called the Regional School Safety Cooperative.

School Safety and Security Coordinator Randy Town says 16 school districts in Yakima, Kittitas and Klickitat counties have formalized the new venture to fund the cooperative. “We were looking for a way to continue funding because Federal grants are just no longer available. So the schools have joined forces to move forward.”

Town says he is working with school leaders to focus on three main areas of concern: Conducting walkthroughs to assess security concerns, reviewing school crisis management plans and networking information between schools and between law enforcement.

The new regional co-op developed out of the local school safety advisory group that was formed this past January a few weeks after the school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn.