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$100,000 Westport School Security Audit Up for Vote

After two recent school security lockdowns in Westport and Weston, do you think a $100,000 school security audit is necessary?

 

There have been two school security lockdowns in Westport and Weston over the course of one week.

Last week a high-speed police chase ended at a stolen Jeep and fled on foot. Weston High School was placed on lockdown and students were evacuated Wednesday after the school received an “unconfirmed threat.”

The Westport Representative Town Meeting (RTM) will vote Tuesday on an appropriation for a $50,000 school security audit. Pending that approval, the RTM will vote on an additional $50,000 appropriation for the audit, which was requested by Superintendent of Schools Dr. Elliot Landon. 

Earlier this month the Board of Finance unanimously approved a $100,000 appropriation for the school security.

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In January, the finance board approved a $50,000 funding request for a professional audit that will provide recommendations to enhance security in all Westport public schools, a decision that was prompted by the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown.

The cost of the study was later increased by an additional $50,000 following a decision to have it directed by local police and educators.

The new security model will require that police and educators meet on a regular basis to share information.

If approved by the RTM at its March 5 meeting, Kroll Advisory Solutions will be the firm to work with the Westport Police Department and Westport educators to ensure that our schools and busses are as safe as possible. 

Jeanne R. Schwartz M.D. February 28, 2013 at 12:38 PM
Performing a security audit for Westport schools is probably reasonable, in light of recent events and the resulting public outcry. It is also reasonable to outsource the audit to a professional security entity. However, why in the world should the cost of this process increase by 100% in order to enlist the participation of town police and teachers??? Two alternatives: 1. Once completed, the audit is presented to Westport police and teachers, who, at NO cost, evaluate it and implement that which they feel is appropriate, or 2. A chosen member of both the police force and Board of Education participate in the process ( at NO COST- they are already being paid ), and it is then presented as in number one above.
jeff schwartz February 28, 2013 at 12:54 PM
It is outrageous that the cost of the proposed study doubled in order to include the participation of the Westport Police and educators. These groups are already on the town payroll. Their participation should be assumed AT NO ADDITIONAL COST!
Don Bergmann February 28, 2013 at 01:48 PM
The cost increase, from $50,000 to $100,000, has absolutely nothing to do with our Police, Teachers or any other Town employee. The Bd. of Ed. and Dr. Landon first estimated the cost of the study to be $50,000. I believe this was based upon the cost of a study of six or so years ago that cost about $30,000. At the time of the $50,000 estimate no decision had been made as to who would conduct the study. Dr. Landon then spoke with Kroll and, after negotiation, reached an agreement on a price of $100,000. It was that amount and that firm that then was recommended to the Bd. of Ed. and the Bd. of Fin. At the same time, it became apparent that the Bd. of Ed., Dr. Landon and the Bd.of Fin. had made a mistake in not engaging with our Police Dept. The $100,000 cost was not impacted in any way by the decision finally to discuss with our Police Dept. the proposed study. The cost for Kroll is $100,000. If approved by the RTM, a study will result, Don Bergmann, RTM Dist. One Rep.
Bart Shuldman February 28, 2013 at 06:11 PM
First let me say I want our children to be safe. However, there are concerns with this study. First, a study was conducted 4 or 5 years ago that the town spent $35,000. What happened with that study? I am told we did not approach that firm to provide a quote for them to update this study. If this is right, why not? If this firm was good enough 4-5 years ago, then why not now? Why have we decided to go to only Kroll? Again, if the original study was not enough to protect our children, I am all for deciding what is needed to get us to it. But why does Landon want to spend another $100K when we have a study and there are questions why we are not using a firm we trusted to protect our schools before.
jeff schwartz February 28, 2013 at 06:34 PM
Not to be too controversial, but it is very easy for public officials to spend other people"'s money. Landon does't care where it comes from,as long as he gets what he wants! Providing the money is the responsibility of the taxpayers.......and they are probably viewed as having infinitely deep pockets.

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