Just a month after the elementary school shooting in Connecticut that resulted in the deaths of 20 children, the Hillsborough County School Board has rejected a security proposal that would have placed armed guards at all District elementary schools, including the seven in the New Tampa area.
During a Hillsborough County School District (HCSD) School Board meeting on January 15, Superintendent MaryEllen Elia brought her security plan before the Board.
According to a news release from the District, Elia’s proposal called for the hiring of 130 additional security personnel — in addition to the 78 School Resource Officers (SROs) and School Resource Deputies (SRDs) that already are in place through partnerships with the Tampa Police Department (TPD) and Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO). This measure would cost the District about $700,000 to finish the 2012-13 school year and more than $4 million for the following year.
Elia’s proposal also featured measures that would bring in Michael Dorn, a school safety expert, who would “review district safety and security protocols and school access control.” Despite voting against most of the Superintendent’s proposal, the Board voted 4-3 in favor of hiring Dorn as a consultant, which will cost about $8,500.
Dorn’s hiring was the only part of Elia’s plan approved by the Board. Elia also proposed securing the remaining 10 percent of Hillsborough County schools that are not already access-controlled, which means that visitors must receive permission to enter or exit the campus. Securing the remaining schools would carry a one-time cost of $1.2-million.