WESTPORT, Conn. – Westport schools are on the verge of conducting a $100,000 security analysis after the Board of Education’s request for an additional $50,000 to hire a consulting firm for the job was approved Wednesday by the Board of Finance.
After the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting , the school board requested $50,000 for a security study, which the finance board approved in January. However, the Manhattan-based risk consulting firm Kroll Advisory Solutions , the only firm that formally submitted an audit proposal, is charging $100,000.
The finance board last week delayed a vote on the request for more money after learning the school board had not sought input from the police and fire departments on the scope of the study. Since then, a security task force of Superintendent Elliott Landon, Police Chief Dale Call, Deputy Police Chief Fotios Koskinas, Fire Chief/Emergency Management Director Andrew Kingsbury and First Selectman Gordon Joseloff has met to discuss the study and Kroll’s proposal.
“I think we’re in a good place now,” Landon told the finance board Wednesday night.
Call, who said the meeting was productive and frank, said he voiced his top concern at the meeting: The proposal did not include examining how the schools, police department and fire departments communicate with each other.
More information needs to be shared between these departments, Call said, even information that may seem insignificant. The more that's shared, the easier it is to identify potential risks, he said.
“The school system may see something that on its own seems fairly innocuous, but we [the police] know a little bit more, and that’s what this study needs to take a look at,” Call said.
Landon agreed with Call about the importance of examining communications and said he hopes Kroll will help the schools, police and fire departments develop a “single silo” communications concept.
Although the finance board unanimously approved the request, the approval of the Representative Town Meeting—the town’s legislative body—is needed before the security audit can begin.
The RTM is expected to vote on the request at its March 5 meeting.
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.