School administrators call on state legislators to provide more funding for security

Published: May. 26, 2022 at 6:14 PM CDT
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LAWTON, Okla. (KSWO) - School districts across the country are taking another look at how school security is funded, following the shooting at a Texas elementary school that left 19 children and two teachers dead.

Cache Public Schools Superintendent Chad Hance is calling on legislators to provide more funding for schools to keep students safe. He said it doesn’t matter whether it’s a public, private, or charter school because every staff member and child deserves to have peace of mind.

Each year, Cache Public Schools spends between $200,000 to 300,000 on security, including staff, cameras and equipment.

That’s about 10% of the district’s budget.

“If we could stop crazy, a lot of these things wouldn’t be happening,” Hance said. “This problem would have been cured a long time ago, so it’s an uphill battle. It’s a challenge, but I think we owe it to our next generation to where they can come to school and our teachers, they can come to school and feel like we’re doing our very best to keep them safe.”

Hance said lawmakers should create a line item within the budget, dedicated specifically to school security.

“We’ve been very imaginative in Oklahoma, regarding giving a lot of tax breaks and incentives for getting companies to come to Oklahoma,” Hance said. “There’s got to be some imagination in the senate on how we can keep children safe.”

Lawton Public Schools Superintendent Kevin Hime agrees with Hance.

His district spends about $750,000 each year on officers alone.

“In light of what happened, maybe we can challenge our legislators to go back and dedicate some money to security, dedicate some money for schools,” Hime said. “Even if they hired one person or a committee of people to come into our schools and say, ‘This is what you need to do. You can apply for grants from us to do this to secure your schools.”

Hime said with LPS’s open campuses at the high schools, administrators are always looking for ways to be make the schools more secure.

“From my seat, I think our people -- Chief Hornbeck, communication people, our principals -- I think we’re doing a lot, but one thing that I’ve always brought with me when I came here, you don’t have to be bad to get better, so we need to get better everyday,” Hime said.

According to Hime, the district is looking at placing officers outside of buildings to patrol rather than inside the schools.

He said research shows protection starts with keeping predators out of the building. They hope to have that in place by next semester.

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