The town council set a public hearing to allocate $54,990 towards security improvements for Tolland schools at its Tuesday meeting.
According to Town Manager Steven Werbner, the money would be used to fund school security priorities recommended by public safety officials and school district personnel.
Public Safety Director John Littell, Lt. Scott Smith, Acting Tolland Resident Trooper Sgt. Chris Sharland, Tolland School District Technology Specialist Chris White and school administrators have surveyed the buildings over the past two weeks, Werbner said.
While the list of security priorities hasn't been finalized yet, Werbner said that surveillance equipment and structural changes to school designs are potential improvements.
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The money for improvements would come from the school board's capital accounts, Werbner explained, mostly from completed projects with some leftover funds. The specific accounts are listed in the town council agenda.
Werbner stressed the importance of school security in an earlier discussion with Tolland's state representatives, State Sen. Tony Guglielmo (R), State Rep. Bryan Hurlburt (D). State Rep. Tim Ackert (R), and Connecticut Conference of Municipalities representative Robert Labanara.
He asked the legislators to consider suspending unfunded mandates that were draining municipalities, citing the new teacher evaluation standards set to go into effect this July as an example. Tolland's school board recently approved the hire of a new employee to handle the implementation of those evaluations.
"I would have rather seen those funds go to school safety," Werbner said.
Tolland school board chairperson Andy Powell estimated that the evaluations will take up to 3,000 hours to complete.
The public hearing for the security funding is set for Jan. 22 at 7:30 p.m. in council chambers.
More Council News
The council approved a property management plan submitted by the Conservation Commission for the Becker Conservation Area. The 28.5 acre property is located on South River Road and borders the Willimantic River. More information is available in the town council packet.
The council also approved the creation of a committee to work with Honeywell during its investment grade audit of the town's buildings. The committee will consist of town staff, school district staff, a school board member, a council member and three volunteers from the Tolland Energy Task Force.
The council meets next on Jan. 22 at 7:30 p.m. in council chambers.