Texas City public schools will implement about $1.4 million in new security measures, including more deputies and communication software, during the 2018-19 term.
The board of trustees Tuesday approved hiring an additional eight deputies through the Galveston County Sheriff’s Office, bringing the total to 19 school liaison officers, district spokeswoman Melissa Tortorici said. Each campus, including elementary schools, will have at least one deputy.
Paying the new deputies would cost about $700,000, Tortorici said.
The district also looked at new software systems this summer that would allow it to communicate on a public safety broadband network and connect with law enforcement more quickly, Tortorici said.
The district also will have an identification system that will monitor students and staff in buildings and buses through tags on their IDs, Tortorici said.
The software and the identification system will cost more than $700,000, Tortorici said. That would come from $6.5 million of a $136.1 million bond already earmarked for security upgrades, she said.
Other security services would cost about $6,000 and come from the district’s general fund budget, Tortorici said.
Some of the new security requirements such as tagging faculty and students might be inconvenient but were beneficial, Mike Matranga, the executive director of security and school safety, said.
“If it adds another level of protection for our students and staff, we’re going to do it,” he said.
It’s important for the district to ensure faculty and students are safe, Superintendent Rodney Cavness said.
These safety measures are a first step, but more improvements will come from the earmarked $6.5 million, Cavness said.
“There is still a lot of money left to do substantial things,” he said. “This is just Round 1.”