Following several motions and proposed amendments at a Board of Finance meeting Monday, March 11, officials unanimously recommended setting aside $420,000 in a contingency account to hire and train additional police officers and providing them with vehicles to guard public elementary schools.
The board also unanimously recommended funding a grant program for three local private schools to help pay for additional security measures.
Simpsonville, a South Carolina town, has added police to their schools at no added costs to taxpayers with satellite police offices and an officer at no added cost to taxpayers. Other towns appear to engaging in this as well with no added cost to taxpayers, and Newtown should look at this as well.
It would not be unusual for Board of Finance school budget deliberations to extend to three hours or more. But despite the intention to do so on March 6, finance officials never cracked open the school budget book.
Instead, they heard public comment and spent the rest of their special meeting originally scheduled to take up the district budget proposal, trying to get a better understanding about the scope and cost of future school security measures.
The Board of Selectmen reviewed five options to provide increased security and safety at Newtown’s elementary schools, as well as providing options for local private schools that might want to consider being part of an overall community program tied to the local police department. Officials also met Anne Alzapiedi, a senior human resource leader at GE Capital and former municipal official, who will join two other GE Capital colleagues providing logistical and advisory support to the community in the wake of the 12/14 tragedy.
Newtown’s departing School Superintendent Janet Robinson will begin her new job in Stratford no later than July 1, according to her new contract, which was provided to The Bee following a Freedom of Information request. The contract also affirms that Stratford will be compensating Dr Robinson at a rate significantly higher than what Stratford’s interim superintendent apparently earned, but less than the same individual earned when she was the contracted superintendent.
After voting to request security resource officers be placed by the Newtown Police Department at each of the elementary schools in town for next school year, the Board of Education postponed a decision on its 2013-14 budget on Thursday, January 31, until a future meeting. That meeting could take place as soon as Tuesday, February 5.
Board of Education Chair Debbie Leidlein said she did not feel prepared to make a decision Thursday evening on the proposed budget.