BYRON -- If a Sandy Hook-like tragedy occurred on one of Byron Union's campuses, their greatest vulnerability would be the time it would take for emergency response.

And the far East Contra Costa school district may become even more isolated next year for if its school resource officer is taken away.

Byron officials recently walked the campuses of Discovery Bay and Timber Point elementaries and Excelsior Middle School to inventory what could be done to keep students and staff safe.

"In the immediate aftermath (of Sandy Hook), we wanted to determine where things stand and take every measure to make our schools safer," Trustee Jill Sprenkel said.

Superintendent Ken Jacopetti said the district created a list of small and larger projects: adding a fence around Excelsior and making the main office the lone entrance, installing additional slide bolt door locks between the wings that connect elementary rooms, simplifying the "all-call" and alarm systems and adding door peep holes.

Teachers are now told to keep all doors locked, Jacopetti said. Officials are also "looking at every possible disaster scenario," he said.

But, the largest issue facing school safety may be the district's contract with the Contra Costa Sheriff's department for a school resource officer, which expires on June 30, the end of the fiscal year.

"Our biggest problem already would be response time," said Sprenkel, noting how the carnage of the 1999 Columbine High School massacre escalated because it took minutes for police response.

In Byron Union, the sheriff's deputy divides his time between the schools and is able to respond to any emergency incident in the community.

That presence helps given Byron's location on the eastern fringe of Contra Costa County. In an extreme 911 emergency, response would come from all directions, but the closest jurisdiction would be Brentwood police, Jacopetti said.

"If we have a school resource officer, even if they are at (Discovery Bay) and need to get to (Timber Point), that would take minutes, but if we're looking at waiting for response from Brentwood or Antioch or beyond, we're looking at 10 minutes at least," Sprenkel said.

Almost all of the school districts in the East Bay have school resource officers.

Funded through grant money until two years ago, the cost for the resource officer had been split among the district, the Sheriff's Office and money from Discovery Bay's P-6 zones.

The P-6 board is still considering whether those funds may be used for the position next fall.

A local education-based nonprofit is trying to raise money to help fund the position. Seeking Excellence in Education Foundation, or SEED, is hosting a spaghetti-feed fundraiser, raffle and silent auction next month.

"Hopefully, we can build up community support and residents really see (a school resource officer's) value," Sprenkel said.

Contact Paul Burgarino at 925-779-7164. Follow him at Twitter.com/paulburgarino.

IF YOU GO
What: Spaghetti-feed fundraiser, raffle and silent auction
When: April 20
Where: Sports Bar & Steakhouse, 2477 Discovery Bay Blvd., Discovery Bay
Information: 925-634-0265