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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

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$1.4M estimate floated for school security upgrades

Published 7:05 am, Tuesday, May 13, 2014
  • Board of Education members met Monday night to vote its final approval of its 2014-15 school budget and to discuss projected capital costs for school security. From left are BOE members Michael Gordon; Jeannie Smith, vice chairwoman; and Elaine Whitney, chairwoman. At far right is Superintendent of Schools Elliot Landon. Photo: Anne M. Amato / westport news
    Board of Education members met Monday night to vote its final approval of its 2014-15 school budget and to discuss projected capital costs for school security. From left are BOE members Michael Gordon; Jeannie Smith, vice chairwoman; and Elaine Whitney, chairwoman. At far right is Superintendent of Schools Elliot Landon. Photo: Anne M. Amato

 

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The cost to upgrade security at the town's public schools is expected to be about $1.4 million, Superintendent of Schools Elliott Landon told the Board of Education on Monday.

The project should cost "no more" than that amount, Landon told the board. That price tag includes the $200,000 for school security locks recently approved by the Representative Town Meeting.

He said he met with officials from both the police and fire departments and "went over our immediate priorities" based on recommendations in the report on upgrading local school security, which was compiled by the Kroll consulting firm, at a cost of $100,000, following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings.

The types of security measures under consideration were not discussed and board Chairwoman Elaine Whitney cautioned that most of what is envisioned had been discussed "in executive session."

"We won't be getting into specific things," she said, in order to preserve the effectiveness of the measures.

Board member Michael Gordon expressed concern that the $1.4 million figure might not be enough -- that it was too conservative -- but Landon said he feels "safe" that it will be adequate.

Gordon also reminded the board that this was just the first phase of the project, adding that he believes school officials should be "upfront with the funding body" when asking for the money. He was referring to the Board of Finance.

Landon said maybe the board should ask the finance panel for a larger amount "so we don't have to go back to them."

Whitney said the matter would be discussed again at the school board's May 27 meeting before taking the matter to the finance board in June and the Representative Town Meeting in July.

"That's so we will be more specific and give our best estimate," she said.