Broward School Board rejects safety report

Staff asked to reconsider safety measures at schools

By Bob Norman - Investigative Reporter

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - The School Board of Broward County considered new safety measures during a meeting Tuesday after the school shooting in Newtown, Conn.

But in the end there were more questions than answers for board members -- so they voted down a safety study and asked staff to go back to the drawing board.

"You know, I'm a parent, you're a parent, and you want to make sure that when you're child goes to school, they feel safe," Robin Bartleman told Local 10's Bob Norman.

School board members opened the meeting with a moment of silence for the victims of Sandy Hook Elementary School, but they rejected the safety plan after a debate.

"I just wanted answers," said Bartleman. "It was just frustrating for me."

Among questions for which staff had no answers were critical ones in the wake of the Newtown school shootings, including how many schools don't yet have a single point of entry and how many elementary schools lack designated police officers. There were also questions about how much money would be needed by the cash-strapped district to make the wanted changes.

"After a horrible incident on Friday, it really brings to mind how we're spending our money," said board member Nora Rupert.

Rupert suggested putting $500,000 earmarked for GPS on school busses toward school security instead.

"I'd rather put it toward single point of entry and more [school resource officers]," she said.

Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie balked at that idea.

"I take an absolute different view on that," said Runcie. "It's the only way to get accountability."

Everyone agreed on one thing: the balance between security and the budget will be something that's heavily debated by the board in the coming months.

"It boils down to funding," said Runcie. "That's the bottom line."

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