With student security suddenly at the top of every school board’s agenda, the Springville-Griffith District is taking advantage of a security professional within its own ranks: School Board President Mel Williams.
Williams, a security inspector of correctional facilities around the country, volunteered to conduct a security audit of the district’s buildings.
“We have a lot of good policies in place, but I’m sad to say if someone dedicates themselves to hurting people and giving up their own life, there’s little we can do,” Williams said at this week’s board meeting. “But the best deterrent is a trained staff.”
Because the staff at Sandy Hook Elementary School was prepared last month, “they saved many lives,” Williams said.
He said he would do a walk-through in February of the district’s four schools and provide a security assessment and checklist to the School Board.
In other matters, Business Administrator Ted Welch called the district’s budget calendar “compressed” but responsible. With a scheduled overview Jan. 29 and adoption by April 23, it is a tighter time frame than last year, he said. Yet with the district still buzzing about last week’s well-attended Community Conversation, school officials are optimistic.
“This district has had great difficulty getting input on budgets. In five years, we weren’t able to get the volume of community input that we did the other night. It’s a great leap in the right direction, and we can use it as a budget instrument,” Welch said.
On a darker note, the business administrator said the revenue-to-expense gap for 2013-14 would be between $600,000 and $1.2 million. A 2 percent increase in the tax cap of $291,249 wouldn’t even cover the health care increases of about $300,000, nor the increased retirement and insurance costs and higher debt service expenses.
Meanwhile, board member Joan Kelly suggested the district form a subcommittee to study the feasibility of keeping open Colden Elementary School. Board members Jon Einarsson and Delia Bonenberger said the matter ought to be considered outside of budget season, while board member Kara Kane thought a study of the entire district configuration would be wiser. Superintendent Paul Connelly said a school closing would be an unlikely consideration this year.