Texas School Dist. Security Act_PR_1.22.13 (1)
GRAYSON COUNTY, TX -- Recent school shootings have administrators and lawmakers scrambling to improve school security. Tuesday three Texas lawmakers presented a bill that would give school boards, parents and taxpayers more control to enhance security.
Van Alstyne Superintendent Dr. John Spies says the school board just approved adding a new security system in the High School.
"It's a camera buzz in system to where outside people do have to buzz in," Dr. Spies said.
New security measures generally come out of the school's annual budget, but "The Texas School District Security Act" offers another alternative. The bill would allow taxpayers in school districts to vote on and approve increased public funding to pay for enhanced security -- from cameras to armed guards.
"Their community can decide best for themselves. It's local control. Local option," bill creator Senator John Whitmire said.
"I believe that school communities are smart enough to figure out what works best for them," bill author Senator Tommy Williams said.
Denison Superintendent Dr. Henry Scott likes the idea.
"Anything that we can get help for from the legislature on as far as safety, school security for our students, you know, I applaud that," Dr. Scott said.
However, Dr. Spies opposes the bill. He says the state should be responsible for funding student's safety, but both administrators agree they would increase patrols if they had the money.
"We would probably have one on each of our three campuses," Dr. Spies said.
"It would be good to have the money to hire another police officer or two to be in our schools full time," Dr. Scott said.
To do that in each of Denison's schools, Dr. Scott says it could cost the district more than $500,000 a year.
For now, many Texas administrators await the outcome of the bill to gauge their next steps.
Attached is a copy of a press release with more details about "The Texas School District Security Act".