Voters in Newtown, Conn., overwhelmingly approved a new $71.3 million school budget with a new $500,000-security plan, the News-Times reported.
The plan includes funding for 18 guards – half of them armed, retired police officers – for seven schools. Higher salaries are paid to the armed guards to compensate for their training, the Newtown Bee reported earlier.
A combination of grants, municipal and school general fund money will cover the expense.
These armed officers will replace the active, on-duty police officers who are working overtime at the town’s expense. The change is expected to save taxpayers about $250,000 annually.
This is in addition to building hardening measures, like improved interior door materials, and donated security enhancements, such as video surveillance, door access control and security systems. The value of the donated equipment and services is about $1.2 million, according to the school system’s budget.
The school budget, which did not include a tax rate increase, passed with a 2,421-to-868 vote.
The system is also using a $50 million state grant to rebuild Sandy Hook Elementary School, where 20 children and six adults were killed in December 2012. The school has been demolished.