School shooter safety grants highlight new role for operations managers

This article by Greg Sukiennik originally appeared Aug. 22 in the Manchester Journal.

SUNDERLAND — Greg Harrington has been operations manager for the Bennington-Rutland Supervisory Union for barely two months, and he’s already plenty busy managing building improvements, working with building principals, getting a handle on bus routes and getting the area’s school buildings ready for the arrival of students in a week.

Last week, the BRSU learned six of its schools were among recipients of state grants intended to improve the safety of school buildings in Vermont. The district was awarded $74,425 in funds for such projects, in an announcement made by Gov. Phil Scott last week. As operations manager, Harrington is in charge of making those improvements happen.

“Some of these projects were already in the hopper, and some came up after the Fair Haven incident,” Harrington told the Journal, referring to the alleged school shooting plot that led the state to conduct a state-wide school building safety review as well as new gun safety legislation. “But some were already in progress, such as installing cameras in schools and exteriors. Some schools were already doing that.”

Harrington is the point person for those projects, as well as other improvements that are being hustled to completion before the district welcomes students for the first time next week. The safety projects need to be done by September 2019 to qualify for grant funding, but many can be completed while school is in session, Harrington said.

The funding comes from $4 million in grants approved by the Legislature and Governor Scott earlier this year. They will fund 560 separate projects in 239 schools to help tighten security and improve in-school communication systems. Purchases will include interior and exterior door locks, indoor and outdoor public address systems and other infrastructure upgrades. Schools were eligible for up to $25,000 and will be responsible for a 25 percent grant match.

Read full article at the Manchester Journal.

(Fair use with written permission from the New England Newspapers Inc.)

Image courtesy of Bennington-Rutland Supervisory Union