In keeping with a promise to address campus security, Sharyland ISD renewed an agreement for on-site police officers and awarded a contract for security guard services.
In June, Sharyland ISD held a town hall meeting to discuss the security and safety of the district. They heard feedback from community members, and at the June school board meeting, the trustees authorized the superintendent to bring purchases to the board to prepare for the start of the new school year.
“The authorization is meant to include, basically, whatever it takes to secure our schools in, certainly, a better way than they are now,” trustee Ricky Longoria said at the June meeting. “[It’s] to ensure the safety and security of our children, and also to include, but not limited to, ensuring that we have armed guards at every elementary school campus.”
At the July 25 school board meeting, the trustees renewed an agreement with the City of Mission for six education resource officers for the 2022-2023 school year. The Mission Police Department provides the officers for all the secondary campuses. SISD contracted the officers to work 179 days for $393,558.59. Payment for the services will come out of local funds.
Although the district has campuses in Mission and McAllen, only Mission PD can provide officers on-site.
Dr. Vidaurri and I had a meeting with the chief of police in McAllen and at this point they were very adamant they could not supply us with school resource officers,” Executive Director of Maintenance and Operations Mark Dougherty said. “…we have also reached out, in the past, to our constables and they’re feeling a bit of a strain as well with giving us resource officers at this time.”
The board also awarded a contract with Mission-based MLG Protection Services for a one-year term with an option to renew for two additional one-year terms. The rate is $16 per hour per unarmed guard and $16.50 per hour per armed guard.
Eight companies submitted bids to work with the district, and MLG ranked near the middle for cost. Despite companies with cheaper hourly rates, administration felt MLG was the best choice due to experience. According to a graph administration provided at the meeting, MLG has worked with Hidalgo ISD, RGV College and Mercedes ISD.
“With everything going on, we felt it necessary to have a company that did have previous school experience because everything has changed and keeps changing every day,” Dougherty said.
Following the Uvalde CISD mass shooting in May, Texas educators have been strategizing how to prevent a school shooting on their campuses while Texas lawmakers have continued to loosen gun laws in recent years. Executive Director Daniel King at Region One Education Service Center said school districts have no choice but to take the matter into their own hands.
“While those debates go to the halls of Congress and to the state legislature and throughout the community,” King said, “there in the schools, everybody’s gotta be figuring out how to get better with what we have. And that’s what’s on everybody’s mind right now.”