NORMANGEE, Texas — When House Bill 3 passed in the 88th Texas State Legislature, school districts across Texas realized that they’d have to implement new safety and security standards to comply with the Texas Education Agency.
One of the outlined policies stated that an officer must be on each campus within a school district. Mark Ruffin, the Superintendent for Normangee ISD, said that they already have a School Resource Officer at their facility and are bringing on one more.
“When exterior doors are locked, bad people can’t get in, the allocation of that resource is very well worth it,” said Ruffin.
According to Ruffin, Normangee ISD split up into three separate campuses all located in one facility. Meaning all grades, K-12, enter through the same front doors to get into the building.
The district has also improved their windows and upgraded their fences surrounding the facility, mostly to be in compliance with the new eight-foot height requirement.
“It’s either got to be eight feet tall, or it’s got to be a six-foot fence with an anti-scaling device, or a fence that’s decorative that can’t be scalable,” said Ruffin.
The district was already in the process of several upgrades after the passage of their last bond proposal in 2022. However, these new safety upgrades have been provided in part from grant money totaling $200,000.
“$200,000 is a lot of money, but we’re still left with a lot of things that need to be done for the process of implementing those standards,” said Ruffin.
The Normangee superintendent said that it’s ultimately left to him and only a few administrators to tackle what is a lengthy amount of minimum safety standards they will need to be in compliance of.
Furthermore, although the legislature pushed for school security reform, Ruffin said the State failed to pass a school finance bill that would provide districts with additional funding for other measures.
“In a record surplus year, we have no new revenue to do what we’re doing on an everyday basis,” Ruffin said.
Despite these obstacles, the Superintendent said he remains hopeful for a successful school year for students and staff and has been constant in his pursuit to ensure a safe facility for everyone.
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