DARIEN, Conn. — Darien schools will add security monitors as part of the $83,224,929 budget that was approved Tuesday night. The 2013-14 budget is a 4.05 percent increase over this year.
A security monitor will be placed at each of the five elementary schools as well as at Middlesex Middle School. Darien High School currently has four security monitors. The security monitors will sign in visitors, conduct sweeps of the buildings, participate in drills and training, work as liaisons to the police department and serve on the buildings' emergency response teams.
The security monitors will cost $156,000. The schools are also requesting an additional $45,000 for upgrades to the schools' security hardware and software. These amounts were not in Superintendent Stephen Falcone's original proposed budget. They were added in after assessments of school security after the Newtown school shooting.
The Board of Education unanimously adopted the security measures. It made $269,717 in cuts to the proposed budget, mostly in employee medical benefits and retirement expenses. Other cuts included not adding a technology support position at the elementary schools or a health secretary. Administrators cut $10,950 from the money needed to buy new elementary school furniture while still purchasing all the items needed.
At a recent public hearing on the budget, parents came out to overwhelmingly support the funding for school technology. The technology budget usually sees significant cuts, but the board voted to finance all $407,000 for next year.
The approved $2,198,700 capital budget for next year will include oil tanks and generators for all schools, as well as transportation upgrades.
Falcone also proposed adding $344,000 to this year's budget to pay for security monitors for the rest of the school year, new security cameras, new outdoor PA systems, and upgrades to security hardware and software. The Board of Education will request a special appropriation from the town to pay for these security measures.
The 2013-14 budget was unanimously supported by the Board of Education. It will now go to the Board of Finance for possible adjustments before being sent to the Representative Town Meeting for final approval.