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Thursday, January 03, 2013

Finance Board Approves $50K for School Security Study

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By James Lomuscio

Westport’s Board of Finance tonight unanimously approved a $50,000 appropriation request from the Board of Education for a school security study in the wake of last month’s Newtown school shooting.

The finance board vote came only minutes after the school board, in a special meeting, unanimously voted to request that amount recommended by Schools Superintendent Elliott Landon “to enhance security in all of Westport’s public schools.”

“This is the result of the unspeakable tragedy in our neighboring town of Newtown,” said Avi Kaner, finance board chairman.

Kaner added that since the Newtown shooting, the Board of Finance “expressed our desire to help the Board of Education in any way we can.”

“As a Westport resident and the parent of three children in the school system, I thank the Board of Education and Dr. Landon for keeping our children safe,” Kaner said.

According to Elaine Whitney, school board chairwoman, the last time the school board had a complete security audit was five years ago.

Sheila Flinn, PTA Council co-president, said the security audit was the right way to proceed.

“I think they’re already doing a lot, and I think we already have a lot of good things in place,” she said, adding that all measures are not public to heighten security. “But, they should do a complete security audit.”

Prior to the finance board vote, school board member Mark Mathias noted that the school system has “a lot of (security) processes people don’t know about, and that’s good.”

The request now must go before the Representative Town Meeting (RTM) which next meets on Tuesday.

It was unclear, however, whether the item will be added to that meeting’s agenda or possibly be considered at a special meeting.

Posted 01/03/13 at 03:39 AM

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