Legislative Guidance: School Safety Audits

Legislative Guidance: School Safety Audits

February 20, 2020 0 By Stanley Isaacs


As part of our 86th Texas Legislative Update
Series, this video addresses School Safety and Security Audits. SB 11 makes open-enrollment charter schools
subject to TEC 37.108, which requires conducting a safety and security audit of its facilities,
at least once every three years. The first audit cycle for open-enrollment
charter schools begins on September 1, 2019 and will end on August 31, 2022. The safety and security audit cycle for school districts remains unchanged. Their current audit cycle began on September
1, 2017 and will end on August 31, 2020. The safety and security audit cycle for junior college districts remains unchanged. Their current audit cycle began on September
1, 2018 and will end on August 31, 2021. The model audit procedures developed by the
Texas School Safety Center utilizes multi-disciplinary audit teams to self-assess or audit all facility
exteriors, interiors, climate and culture, and data and documents. The audit procedures begin with the preparation steps by establishing and training the audit
team. Moving into the data collection steps by conducting
interviews and collecting survey results, conducting intruder assessments, the entrance
conference, reviewing data and documents, and conducting the physical walkthrough of
the facility. The data analysis steps include assembling
the findings and developing appropriate audit reports and preparing for the audit submission. School districts, junior college districts
and open-enrollment charter schools are directed to follow the safety and security audit procedures
developed by the Texas School Safety Center or by a person included in the School Safety
and Security Consultant Registry of Texas, which is created and maintained by the Texas
School Safety Center. Inclusion in the registry will require approval
by the Texas School Safety Center following confirmation of the qualifications of the
individual to perform the services they identified for inclusion in the registry. A school district will be required to certify,
as a part of the district audit reporting process, that the use of school safety allotment
funds follows the requirements as provided by the Texas Education Agency and consistent
with those in section 42.168, and used only for those purposes. The district audit report of a school district, submitted to the Texas School Safety Center,
must be signed by the district superintendent and the board of trustees. The junior college audit report, submitted to the Texas School Safety Center, must be
signed by the president of the junior college district. The requirements for signing the audit report of an open-enrollment charter school submitted
to the Texas School Safety Center, for their audit reporting period ending in 2022, is
to be determined. Senate Bill 11 has added both additional requirements
and new sections to Texas Education Code chapter 37, requiring the Texas School Safety Center
to review the emergency operations plans of school districts, junior college districts
and open-enrollment charter schools. The reviews are to be conducted through random
audits and/or on a need based cycle, as determined by the Texas School Safety Center. Conducting a review of the district’s emergency
operations plan is an essential component to a district’s safety and security audit. Safety and security audit reporting will require
responses to questions regarding the emergency operations plans and its components. The Texas School Safety Center is adding a compliance division for the purpose of reviewing
emergency operations plans and answers submitted to audit reporting questions. These reviews will be conducted with the intent
of identifying areas of non-compliance so that guidance can be provided to make the
improvements needed to bring them into compliance. SB 11 provides provisions for additional steps
that would be taken if the plans are not brought into compliance within a specified time. As procedures are developed, they will communicated to districts and charter schools. For additional information and resources,
please visit the Texas School Safety Center website.