Local News

Story published: 04-24-2013 • Print ArticleE-mail Story to a Friend

Grant to cover one school’s risk assessment

By Karen Sells
Assistant Editor

Washington County has a new opportunity for a risk assessment to determine the threats and vulnerabilities at one of its schools.

Director of Schools Ron Dykes was recently notified of a $96,000 grant from Homeland Security that will provide a risk assessment for schools in the First District, including one in Washington County.

Under the Homeland Security grant guidelines, Washington County will receive up to $6,000 to obtain a third party specialist to assess one of its schools. The assessment must be completed and invoiced by Friday, May 31.

Dykes said proposals will be submitted by Harrell Strategic Group, Building Security Specialists and The Safariland Group.

“How will we decide which school will be assessed?” Vice Chair Chad Williams asked.

Dykes said it should be the one considered the most vulnerable, which will be determined by a number of factors, including the length of response time for law enforcement.

Board members will consider the three proposals and a recommendation from Dykes on the school to assess during their May meeting.

Williams asked that the proposal information be reviewed by the BOE Safety Committee prior to a decision by the full board.

Dykes also recommended the board request the company chosen be shadowed by a Washington County Sheriff’s Office staff member on the BOE’s behalf.

Eldridge has offered a reallocation of dollars from his budget for a safety risk assessment of every school in the county.

That offer has led to multiple discussions about using an outside company versus the sheriff’s office.

The commission voted at its meeting Monday morning to allow for the reallocation of $84,000 to conduct the school safety assessments. Just who will conduct them remains to be seen.