Finance Board Supports Westport School Security Study

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WESTPORT, Conn. – An analysis of school security in Westport is one step away from becoming a reality after the Board of Finance unanimously approved a request from the Board of Education for $50,000 to have a security audit performed.

Security measures in place at all eight of the town’s schools will be examined by a security consultant as part of the audit, Board of Education Chairperson Elaine Whitney told the finance board. The decision to move forward with an audit was, in part, influenced by the mass shooting that occurred at Newtown's Sandy Hook Elementary School last month.

“We are seeking to find an expert firm in a very expeditious manner, both to initiate and complete an analysis that would be very comprehensive, looking at all of our school buildings as well as school operational factors and our bus operations,” Whitney said at Wednesday night’s finance meeting.

Once the audit is complete, Whitney said the school board would be provided with recommendations on ways to enhance school security. These recommendations would be considered and evaluated by the board in terms of effectiveness and feasibility, Whitney said.

The board would also seek input from the police department, finance board and Representative Town Meeting—the town’s legislative body—on these recommended security upgrades to decide “what steps we should make going forward,” Whitney said.

The last school security audit was performed about five years ago, Whitney said, and is historically conducted every five years.

With the finance board’s approval, Whitney said the district will begin its search for a consultant. Before the security audit can be performed, however, the Representative Town Meeting needs to approve the $50,000 request. The RTM meets next on Jan. 8.

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