SCOTTS VALLEY -- Like most districts around the country, school officials in Scotts Valley plan to step up security at the district's four schools following last month's deadly shooting in Newtown, Conn.

Shootings can happen anywhere, Police Chief John Weiss told the board Tuesday, but he pointed out Scotts Valley is "blessed to have great demographics."

A five-mile radius is one of several factors working in the city's favor, allowing law-enforcement officials a typical response time of less than three minutes. Also, law enforcement already has a presence at the high school and Brook Knoll and Vine Hill elementary schools through officers who teach safety-related courses. However, those officers are only there during certain hours, and none will be dedicated full-time until the department is up to full staffing.

In the meantime, Weiss encouraged administrators and staff to continue reviewing their safety policies and practicing emergency drills, and for parents to sign up for Nixle community alerts on the department's website, www.scottsvalleypd.com.

District officials also hope to buy radios to improve emergency communication, and enhance classroom safety with door handles that lock from the inside, a feature they currently lack. Wendy Brannan, who sits on the city's parks and recreation commission, also recommended improved fencing around the schools, saying "we have better fencing around the football field at the high school than at the elementary schools."


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Staff is expected to come to the Jan. 22 board meeting with a list of options and prices for new door hardware. But, as always, funding is an issue, with school officials agreeing donations and fundraising will be needed.

In other business, officials are awaiting Gov. Jerry Brown's unveiling of his proposed 2013-14 budget Thursday. Next week, Scotts Valley school officials will attend a meeting in Sacramento for talks related to that budget.

Last month, board members learned the district could get from $900,000 to $1 million this year from Prop. 30, the tax measure voters passed in November, though a more precise number is not expected until the spring.

The state is collecting those funds and setting them aside in a separate account, but they will not be disbursed until June.

Follow Sentinel reporter Kimberly White on Twitter at Twitter.com/kwhite95066