Clear Creek ISD spends millions in new security changes - but it could cost you

In the weeks after the school year ended, Clear Creek ISD got to work to prepare for how it would start.

Sweeping new security changes are now in place.

Safety was top of mind, with shock waves from the shooting at nearby Santa Fe High School still being felt by both staff and students.

"It was absolutely devastating. Nobody deserves to go through what the Santa Fe community is going through," junior Anna Alves said.

The emphasis in the district is on personnel, not metal detectors.

The district approved hiring 15 new full-time school resource officers. Every high school will now have three officers.

There will be enough officers to patrol the elementary schools along with more controlled access points and fewer unmanned entrances.

Another focus is on technology. The district installed new cameras that allow local police departments in the area to view the camera feeds remotely.

More school counselors will also be available to help identify troubled kids and intervene.

Clear Creek ISD superintendent Greg Smith ordered a 40-person community panel to come up with the security changes.

"We asked them not to even look at the cost associated with addressing school safety," Smith explained.

Alves was one of four students on that committee. She believes having the officers will help improve student and police relations.

"They create a relationship with the students. So every morning when I come into school, I greet the officers, they greet me and they really emphasize building a good relationship with the students so there's no tension felt between the officer and the student," Alves said.

The district also plans to add panic buttons and shatter- and bullet-proof film on glass windows.

In the end, the safety overhaul topped $2.1 million, which is money the district doesn't have.

"My job is to make that work. So that's what I have to do. It's going to put us in a budget deficit, but you cannot put a price on the child or a faculty member," Smith said.

Smith says the cost may eventually be passed down to taxpayers.

One thing Alves says the committee wanted, but can't get, is more emergency drills. That will require legislation.

But she says so far the new safety measures are a great start.

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