SCOTTS VALLEY -- By mid-March, all classroom and restroom doors in Scotts Valley schools will be able to be locked from the inside, an added safety measure school leaders approved Tuesday.
"We need to expedite it because it is the children (we're trying to protect), and I do plead with teachers, until then, please lock your doors," said Sue Roth, the school board's vice president. "It's actually an easy thing to help ensure the safety of the children, and then we can just work on next steps after that."
The board approved spending up to $100,000 to buy and install the hardware. Currently doors can be locked only from the outside.
Mike Smith, the district's facilities manager, will look into ways to prevent the windows, which are positioned directly next to the classroom doors, from being shattered, which would allow an intruder to gain access.
Superintendent Penny Weaver also was directed to draft a letter to state legislators alerting them to the costs the district will incur, and asking for extra funding to put more safety measures in place. With every school district around the country looking for ways to improve safety in the wake of the Newtown, Conn., shootings, board member Michael Shulman said, "I'm surprised the legislators aren't on top of this."
He advised Smith to keep track of the district's expenses on the hardware for possible reimbursement in the future.
The $100,000 will come out of the district's general
In other business, Vickie Clark, the district's business official, provided a cautiously optimistic update on the financial forecast for 2013-14, based on figures in Gov. Jerry Brown's recently released budget proposal. It includes billions more in funding for K-12 schools, likely resulting in a slight hike in per-pupil spending for the first time in five years.
Under a proposed policy change, the state would more equitably distribute the amount of base funding each district receives. The proposal, Clark said, gives the district "an opportunity to lose its underfunded status," and a voice in how to spend its funds based on the schools' individual needs. Districts with higher populations of economically disadvantaged and English language learner students still would receive extra funding, but the new model, she suggested, would at least help even the playing field.
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