Budget and school safety both were discussed during a special meeting by Amarillo ISD’s School Board, but only one item was reviewed publicly.
Board members talked about school safety and security behind closed doors in executive session.
It has been five months since voters approved the $100 million bond for AISD, and today we are beginning to learn how those dollars will be put to work.
Last November the community said yes to improving several campuses in AISD, but it might be a year from that month until they start seeing the fruit of their choice.
“There’s quite a bit of architectural design that’s required, and we feel like we’re going to be through the majority of the architectural design piece in the last quarter of this year. And so we’re going see things happen beginning in November,” said Jim Austin, AISD School Board President.
He said there is no word if that is when we will start to see the bulletproof features incorporated in schools but he told us improvements will begin to take shape.
Austin said improving safety at elementary schools is one of their goals with the additional funds.
“One thing, in particular, is the bullet resistant doors and entrances, and the focus is on elementary schools. It’s all part of a long-term safety plan that we’ve had, and we’ve just implemented it as we’ve been able to afford it. Very grateful to the people of Amarillo,” he added.
Of the $100 million, $11.5 million will go to safety and security updates.
Austin told us these measures will begin to take place at certain schools.
“For some of these middle school entrances, yes, but the extension doors of the elementary schools, that will be district-wide,” Austin said.
Additionally, more than $35 million will go to improve several campuses with refurbished bathrooms, and additional classrooms will be built at Caprock and Palo Duro High, and Sleepy Hollow Elementary.
Although we could not be privy to the school safety discussion, Austin told us the whole point of tonight’s meeting was to inform members on where they are headed.
He said this is not the first meeting regarding safety because they discuss it all the time.
There were several items on school safety on the agenda dealing with implementing security devices and adding security personnel.
When we asked if the latter meant hiring more school resource officers, Austin said it was a private matter.