Great Neck schools approve external security audit, tenure for 12

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Great Neck schools approve external security audit, tenure for 12
A parent speaks to school board members about the importance of having armed security on school grounds to reduce response time and save lives. (Photo by Janelle Clausen)

The Great Neck Board of Education voted to hire New York City-based RedLand Strategies for $85,000 to conduct a comprehensive security audit of the school district on Monday night in hopes of identifying and alleviating safety concerns.

According to a copy of the resolution, the security and business development firm will identify potential security weaknesses and outline suggestions to “secure the buildings and technological assets to reduce the opportunity of an individual or group of individuals whose intent is to cause harm to students, staff and damage to physical and technological assets.”

The school originally sent out a request for proposals on March 23 to six firms that specialize in analyzing physical and technological threats in school districts. Two responded: Strategic Security Corp. and RedLand Strategies.

Assistant Superintendent for Business John Powell said the security review, to begin in a week or two and cover every facility the school district owns, including its 10 schools, will likely be complete by autumn and allow the district to incorporate new security measures at the start of next school year.

The external security audit comes atop an ongoing security review by the Nassau County Police Department, which Powell said has toured many of the facilities.

“We want everything looked at,” Powell said after the meeting.

The intention to conduct a security audit was announced at a Board of Education meeting in March, which followed a budget meeting earlier that month where parents and students underscored school safety concerns for hours.

The heightened alert followed a Feb. 14 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where a former student shot and killed 17 people, as well as online posts some interpreted as a direct threat to students and the schools.

As it stands, the school has a number of safety measures in place like cooperation with the state Department of Homeland Security, cooperation with local police, hundreds of cameras, a phone system capable of locking and unlocking doors, and the LobbyGuard system that checks identification against criminal databases.

The newly approved $229.84 million budget also featured a $380,000 increase from $2.02 million to $2.4 million in operating costs for security due to hiring five additional guards and an expected 15 percent increase in security contract costs.

Combined with the $1.54 million project paid for by reserves to upgrade every main entrance vestibule in the district to include double door locks, an intercom buzzer system, increased bullet resistance, and extra surveillance, the district will spend $3.94 million on security.

In other business, school board members approved tenure for 12 teachers from elementary schools across the district, including Staci Solomon at Parkville School, Kristin Ebergardt, Kristen Pappas and Nicole Viscomi at E.M. Baker Elementary, Lauren Heck and Kelly Rosario at John F. Kennedy Elementary, Stephanie Bailyn, Jennifer Seiden, Jaclyn Sharoni and Julie Smith at Lakeville School, Meredith Moss at Saddle Rock, and Colleen Guarneiri at Saddle Rock and Lakeville.

The principals of the respective schools each vouched for the credentials of the teachers, who teach a mix of general studies, special education, physical education and English as a new language.

Community and board members also recognized the service of Parkville School Principal Debbie Shalom, who is retiring after serving as principal for nearly two decades.

Interim Principal Michael Mensch discusses the qualifications of Meredith Moss and Colleen Guarneiri, a general special education teacher and English as a Second Language teacher, with the board and the public. (Photo by Janelle Clausen)
Interim Principal Michael Mensch discusses the qualifications of Meredith Moss and Colleen Guarneiri, a general special education teacher and English as a Second Language teacher, with the board and the public. (Photo by Janelle Clausen)

 

Retiring Principal Debbie Shalom embraces Staci Solomon, an elementary school teacher who was recently approved to receive tenure. (Photo by Janelle Clausen)
Retiring Principal Debbie Shalom embraces Staci Solomon, an elementary school teacher who was recently approved to receive tenure. (Photo by Janelle Clausen)
John F. Kennedy Elementary School Principal Ron Gimondo turns to address Kelly Rosario, a special education teacher, and Coach Lauren Heck, a physical education and recreation teacher. (Photo by Janelle Clausen)
John F. Kennedy Elementary School Principal Ron Gimondo turns to address Kelly Rosario, a special education teacher, and Coach Lauren Heck, a physical education and recreation teacher. (Photo by Janelle Clausen)
Lakeville School Principal Emily Zucal turns to face her school's nominees for tenure, including Stephanie Bailyn, Jennifer Seiden, Jaclyn Sharoni and Julie Smith. (Photo by Janelle Clausen)
Lakeville School Principal Emily Zucal turns to face her school’s nominees for tenure, including Stephanie Bailyn, Jennifer Seiden, Jaclyn Sharoni and Julie Smith. (Photo by Janelle Clausen)
E.M. Baker School Principal Sharon Fougner shares stories about Nicole Viscomi and special education teachers Kristen Pappas and Kristin Eberhardt. (Photo by Janelle Clausen)
E.M. Baker School Principal Sharon Fougner shares stories about Nicole Viscomi and special education teachers Kristen Pappas and Kristin Eberhardt. (Photo by Janelle Clausen)

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