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Monroe resident voices safety concerns to board
Times file photo
MONROE - Nicollette Golubov, a Monroe resident and a volunteer in the schools, addressed the Monroe Board of Education about the safety of the district's schools Monday.

Golubov, who has two children in the district, spoke during the public comment portion of the meeting. She said she's concerned about the safety in Monroe schools following recent school shootings elsewhere in the U.S. She alleges various schools in the city have unlocked doors during the day.

"With all of the shootings, I wanted to come to express my concerns and find out what plans the schools have to increase safety in the schools," Golubov said. "I volunteer a lot in the elementary schools and middle school, and I can walk right in through the door and upstairs in the middle school. No one will ask me why I'm there. My main concern is making sure the doors are locked."

Most recently, a 19-year-old shooter killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on Feb. 14.

Bob Erb, Monroe school board president, said school safety is a priority and the district is in the middle of a facilities study that seeks to address safety concerns.

Voters in Monroe approved a three-year referendum in November 2016 to increase the school district's budget by $1.5 million per year for operating costs, along with a $460,000 increase for each of those years for maintenance and safety projects. Since then, the district has added new closed-circuit security cameras with new audio.

Monroe District Administrator Rick Waski said the district is targeting projects in a facilities study to remodel and upgrade each school so visitors would have to enter a separate holding area and proceed through the office before they could get into the school. Remodeling the entryways to each may be part of a referendum next year.

"Some of these schools require more capital and money to remodel these entrances," Waski said. "We are working diligently to come up with solutions. There is still a lot of work to do."

The district is currently taking other safety measures before a long-term plan can be implemented, he said, including the closed-circuit cameras, electric locks and a system that sets off an alarm when school doors not intended to be opened during the day are opened.

Gov. Scott Walker said Monday that he wants the state to provide additional money to improve safety in schools, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Waski said the proposed state plan he has seen would allow districts to receive $40,000 for an armed guard, although details for how the money could be used are being worked out. However, Waski said it would not allow a school district to pay for remodeling to increase safety.

Golubov volunteered to be part of a parent group that lobbies and consults district administrators on school safety.

Monroe Business Administrator Ron Olson said the district will need groups of parents and community members to step forward if the district chooses to put a school safety referendum on the ballot next year.