D-8 awarded more than $1M for school security upgrades

Published: Feb. 27, 2019 at 7:38 AM MST
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Fountain-Fort Carson School District 8 has won more than $1.1 million to upgrade security cameras and radios within the district.

The grant is part of the School Security Disbursement program, a state grant awarded to 95 schools and districts around Colorado. D-8 was awarded one of the largest amounts.

“I really was a bit surprised, thinking that I didn’t know that we would actually get all of the money that we had requested,” said Montina Romero, the district’s deputy superintendent.

She said the district has been improving school security over the past three years by implementing a district-wide radio system and adding a full-time school resource officer to every school building, so she thinks that might have contributed to the district winning the full amount it requested.

“My job is to keep the kids safe and to give them somebody to trust,” said Officer Tammy Gugliotta, an SRO at Aragon Elementary School.

With the $1.1 million, D-8 said it would upgrade its video surveillance system.

“Every school is currently on a system, but they’re all different systems,” Romero said. “So we’ll be able to align the system.”

She said the money would also be used to add and replace outdated cameras and radios.

“We’ll focus first on analog radios and get all of those out of the school and make sure that they’re all digital and then add where necessary,” Romero said.

D-8 said it already had a plan in place to add these security upgrades even before winning the grant, but now it’ll be able to work faster.

“Our intent is then to take that five-year timeline and reduce it to one year,” Romero said. “We’ll get started just as soon as we get that award document, that contract. So as soon as we get everything in place, we have people ready to go because we’ve been on this road.”

Romero said many parents already feel very safe sending their children to school since there are officers in every building. Now, there will be an additional level of security to keep the students even safer.

“It gives us that second set of resources to go to and review if an incident occurred in the hall or if there is an unsafe situation or if there was actually something good that happened,” Gugliotta said in reference to the updated security cameras. “It’s just like our body-worn cameras. It’s that second set of eyes for the community to have in the event that we need to go through that stuff.”

D-8 said it was ready to start working on the security upgrades as soon as the state gives the go-ahead.

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