While no plans can be unveiled yet, Findlay City Schools administrators and school board members have continued to discuss school security following a community meeting on the subject in March, Superintendent Ed Kurt said Monday night.
Ideas include adding security personnel throughout the district — currently they’re based at the high school and go elsewhere as needed — and employing mental health “liaisons” who would work in schools and with “outside agencies,” Kurt said at Monday’s school board meeting.
The district may ask voters to support a levy earmarked for those areas, Kurt said.
Ohio law allows school districts to levy property taxes for purposes that include “funding permanent improvements to provide or enhance security, employing or contracting with safety personnel, providing mental health services and counseling, or providing training in safety and security practices and responses,” according to the Ohio Legislative Service Commission.
“Right now, even in our operational deficit, we’re spending general fund money — a lot — in these areas already,” Kurt said. “What happened Friday in Texas, what’s happened across the United States, you know, you can’t put a price on the life and the safety of our children, of our employees, of our district.”
Security personnel now cost “just under $200,000” annually. The money comes from the general fund, Kurt said.
ALICE (alert, lockdown, inform, counter, evacuate) training, and partial installation of The Boot on classroom doors are good steps, “But do you ever do enough when it comes to safety of children? And so as a community, we had the community forum. We listened. We didn’t sit on our hands. We went and met beyond that, and we’re continuing to meet. We’ve looked at the resistant film that you can put on glass, but let’s start talking about the amount of glass here, you know, and the cost,” Kurt said, referencing the windows in the cafe at Millstream Career Center, where Monday’s meeting was held.
“So as a community, we have to decide where we want to go,” he said.
Having “identified our risks” through the community forum, the district is now working to “minimize that in the short term and then be proactive in the long term for all of our buildings,” said board member Matt Cooper, who serves on the board’s facilities committee.
“I wouldn’t get into the whole discussion of everything that we’re trying to do, because some of that stuff needs to be kept secret. But we are looking at a lot of different things,” Cooper said.
Kurt said he’ll be discussing security options with Findlay Mayor Lydia Mihalik, whom he described as “very receptive to a collaborative approach on this.”
Courier education reporter Kathryne Rubright will have more on Tuesday.