The Board of Education has taken the next step in the effort to make the town's eight public schools more secure.
Board members voted unanimously at Monday's meeting to authorize the administration to prepare a request for proposals for one of three security projects deemed to have the highest priority during an ongoing security audit.
Elio Longo, the school district's assistant superintendent for business, identified those projects as the need for upgrades to interior door locksets, surveillance camera systems and ballistic-grade window film for all school entryways.
Total cost of the three projects is preojected at $1,260,642, officials said.
The board vote directed the administration to develop the RFP for new security locksets for interior doors, one of the three security projects. The total estimated cost of the locksets is $435,343, with the net cost to the school district estimated at $345,182, reflecting costs offset by $90,161 from a state grant of more than $260,000 awarded last week.
"We want to begin that process as expeditiously as possible," school board Chairwoman Elaine Whitney said of the locksets initiative.
The need for those items was outlined in the grant proposal that school administrators submitted to the state with input from the Police Department and Kroll Advisory Services. Kroll representatives are currently conducting a security audit of the town's public schools. They are halfway through a month-long phase of the security review on site.
A comprehensive assessment of the school district's security systems and procedures was put in motion after the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown that claimed 26 lives last December.
In a one-page note to the board, dated Sept. 23, Superintendent of Schools Elliott Landon said the state grant from the state's Gun Violence Prevention and Children's Safety Act will fund $261,083 of the $1.3 million cost of the three initial security projects. The remaining $999,559 would be the responsibility of the school district.
Landon said the RFPs would be developed in consultation with Kroll. The next step would be to seek appropriations from the town's Board of Finance and Representative Town Meeting.
"We will make every effort to ensure that the appropriations requests neither exceed the amount of the grant nor compromise the safety and security of students and staff," Landon said in his note to the board.