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Security Budget is an Afterthought

Good afternoon. As we have mentioned, we will do our best to convey accurate information to you so that you can form your own conclusions about the state of security at our schools. In that light, we have received updated information directly from the District with respect to the budget for the past several years. We had been told previously by a member of the Board that just 0.17% of the budget had been allotted to security. That Board member followed up with us to state that the number was not accurate, was too low and we should have known better. In other words, we should have taken their information with a grain of salt. The District and Board have stated publicly, on numerous occasions, that their priority to security had increased dramatically over the past five years, during the tenure of Dr. Hagerman. The actual figures are as follows with respect to percentage of the budget spent on security:

2013-14 0.35%

2014-15 0.13%

2015-16 0.18%

2016-17 0.23%

2017-18 0.35%

What does this tell us? First, from a budgetary perspective, security is no more important today than it was five years ago, despite comments to the contrary. To refer back to our previous post, talk is cheap, very cheap. Second, the average security expenditure over the past five years has been just 0.25% of the budget. In terms of raw numbers, the District has spent just less than $2.3 million on security over the past five years, from a budget of over $900 million! Frankly we would hate to see the budget before security was prioritized! Budgeting for our children’s’ security is a rounding error. We all bear responsibility for ensuring that our next School Board members are willing to do more than pay lip service to improving security for our children. There is still no person employed by our District whose primary responsibility is to improve school security. The District employee who is in charge of security related matters is also in charge of food services, facilities (including the Green Acres construction when that begins), the budget AND security. One person can only do so much and security is not at the top of that list.

When we started this undertaking, we were told by the Board that it was important for us to show the support of larger numbers of parents as the Board did not want to be reactive to a small number of very vocal parents. We have done that to no avail. The Board’s view of our efforts remains the same and they continue to be resistant to change. Our extremely detailed concerns are met with, “Thank you for your comments, we will take them into consideration.” Unfortunately, that response rings hollow. The Board takes a backseat and waits for the District to suggest improvements. There is nothing that we are aware of which would preclude the Board from taking a more active approach but they have chosen not to do so.

We understand that we have been communicating information to you as well as requests for emails to school officials. It may seem that we are not taking action quickly or aggressively enough. Please understand that, without the cooperation of the Board or the District Administration, this is a major undertaking. We are trying to change policy from the outside, for now, and have met with resistance, marginalization and claims of a lack of legitimacy, despite the support of over six hundred parents and families. We are not dissuaded, and will continue to take on the complacency until meaningful changes are made. We can’t adequately convey our appreciation for your continued support, but thank you. Please stay involved. We will schedule a public meeting shortly, after we have completed some additional foundational work.

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