Newtown Finance Officials Vote Yes on Armed School Security

by Davis Dunavin, Newtown Patch  |  published on March 13, 2013

Officials at a Monday Board of Finance meeting voted to add $420,000 to the town’s contingency fund — an amount chosen to allow Newtown to staff armed police at all seven public schools, including elementary schools, if it chooses.

It’s not final — on Thursday, per charter, the budget will move to the Legislative Council, who have the power to cut the budget. But since that body can’t add money, the Board of Finance decided to act now.

“Our primary goal is to get a number, and that number has to be more than enough for when the council gets the budget,” said Finance Chair John Kortze. “It would allow for some version of an armed police officer in each of the schools — and make sure we don’t have the issue of time.”

First Selectman Pat Llodra’s initial proposal called for $400,000. The board decided to add extra to allow “the conversation to continue” once the budget reaches the Legislative Council.

“We can take it back, but if we don’t add it now and more information comes out, that can’t happen,” said Kortze.

The addition would cover the hiring of 4.3 new officers — the .3 serving to provide a full blanket of security at Reed Intermediate School, whose current School Resource Officer also serves as the town’s Youth Officer. In addition, Llodra said when the Board of Selectmen made their request, they didn’t know Monroe would apply for a grant to provide an officer at Sandy Hook Elementary School, based at Monroe’s Chalk Hill School since the Dec. 14 shooting.

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