The Austin school district, which already has 3,100 security cameras keeping an eye on its 86,600 students, is money to buy more cameras and fix the broken ones, among other security improvements, says the city’s American-Statesman. Similar changes are under way at other area schools, prompted by the mass murder of children and teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut on Dec. 14. Districts are pulling money from reserves or using leftover funds from previous bonds so they can make the changes immediately.
The Austin school district police department is asking for more officers. Over spring break, the Round Rock district is retrofitting the entrances to a few schools to make them more secure. Leander is looking to hire security experts for a comprehensive safety plan. Austin district leaders in recent weeks designated $500,000 in leftover money from a 2004 bond to move more quickly on safety improvements, installing new locks, security camera equipment and — a first for the district — panic buttons in undisclosed areas of elementary schools. The Lake Travis district also is installing such buttons. An additional $21 million from a 2004 Austin district bond was designated toward safety improvements, and the district is asking for $23.7 million more in security improvement projects in the second of four bond propositions that will go before Austin voters in May.