APS says district security updates will take longer than expected

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It’s a setback for Albuquerque Public Schools. District leaders say they were counting on $20 million from taxpayers to add and improve security measures district-wide. 

Now, they have to figure out which schools need security upgrades the most. 

It was an ambitious plan: new card access, updated cameras, door locks and fencing. However, some of those security upgrades will have to wait.

“Whether every school will have up-to-date cameras or every school will be 100 percent fenced, it will take time,” says Kizito Wijenje, Capital Master Plan Executive Director. 

District leaders say they were expecting $20 million from taxpayers to fund security updates at 142 schools and 10 administrative sites. 

APS Police Chief Steve Gallegos says now, they have to determine what schools have the greatest need. 

“With the loss with the election we had to make some adjustments and those adjustments are we’re looking at the schools with the most need, the high crime, number of incidents at the school, crime at the school,” Gallegos says. 

The district was awarded more than $3 million for 66 schools through a security funding grant. 

“We are trying to leverage the resources we have now to see whether there is grants out there,” Wijenje says. 

Still, leaders say the failed election has pushed back their 18-month timeline to make improvements. 

“For some things, it will be two, three, maybe four years depending on how soon we can get funding,” Wijenje says.

Gallegos says the district will maintain a basic level of security and make updates to as many schools as possible with the money they have. 

“The incidents getting closer, we remind ourselves every day that we need to continue moving forward,” Gallegos says. 

APS says maintenance crew has already installed nearly 4,000 classroom locks. The district says by next school year, they will have finished installing 7,000.    

This month, the district is applying for another grant to fund security updates at 66 more schools. 
 

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