2018-06-06 / Front Page

MSD to move on question of hiring armed guards

Vote expected at June 21 meeting

By Michael Scro

A resolution to consider hiring armed security guards will be on the Massapequa School Board of Education agenda June 21, regardless of whether all members of the board are present. The resolution was to be considered at the board’s June 7 meeting, but was rescheduled because some members did not attend.

 Board President Tim Taylor said last month that he wanted all members present for the vote but added last week that regardless of "whoever shows up that night, (June 21)… we'll vote on it."

 Alan Adcock, deputy superintendent, said that if the resolution were approved, the district would have to move money from the employee’s retirement system line into security since adding additional expenses to the budget after the May vote is prohibited. Should the retirement line be short at the end of the year, the board would be authorized to make a budgetary transfer in the 2018-19 budget as the district moves into the 2019-20 school year.  

 The district estimates that the annual cost for the armed security guard service would be $553,000. However, the district may be able to contract with Eastern Suffolk BOCES at a savings of $198,000.

 "If we utilize the BOCES service, the cost comes down to $355,000, reducing the budget shortfall," Adcock said.

 Adcock explained that Eastern Suffolk BOCES does not have a contract for this type of service, though BOCES officials said they are working on including those services some time in July. 

 The guards would be hired through Covert Investigations & Security, the firm that provides Massapequa with its security services, regardless of whether the district moves forward independently or through BOCES

 Adcock also pointed out that the tax cap has not been approved yet, and there has been some discussion among state officials about the possibility that the additional costs of hiring armed guards would be exempted from the tax cap.

 "With the tax cap being in place in New York State, it may not allow you under the tax cap limit to purchase or add those services to the budget without cutting some other area or other program within the budget," Adcock said.  

 The next Massapequa school board meeting is Thursday, June 21 at 8 p.m.

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