STAMFORD, Vt. -- School safety was a hot topic at Thursday's Select Board meeting, as the board met to finalize town meeting warrant articles.
Following discussion of a warrant article to raise and appropriate $25,525 for the operation of the library, selectmen agreed to amend the article by asking voters, "what sum shall the town of Stamford appropriate for security improvements in the library portion of the building?"
Finance Committee members Jean Kurpiel and Carl Taylor attended to present the committee's recommendations to the board. Kurpiel said her committee believes the students' safety is very important.
The issue is how someone could potentially access the school when the library is open to the public, since both share one building with the town hall. Currently, the main doors to the school are locked, and visitors must go to the principal's office to access the building. But someone could potentially have access to the whole building if they entered through the library. While the door between the two sections could be locked, either the school or the library could require another emergency exit.
"There's a lot of things that need to be looked at, and money that is going to need to be spent in order to bring the entire situation up to the point where there's a feeling of security," she said.
Selectmen were in agreement the current security must be examined in light of the Newtown, Conn., school shooting in December.
"The bottom line is that you do what you can," Taylor said about the improvements.
On Feb. 7, at 5:30 p.m., the school directors and library trustees will meet to discuss enhancing building security.
In other business, the Finance Committee recommended the Selectmen turn down several articles on the town meeting warrant. Two articles are petitions from local charities: One requests $500 to Community Action in South-Western Vermont, and the other requests $2,500 to be used toward operation and expansion of the Turning Point Recovery Center of Bennington County. Town Clerk Lori Shepherd told the board the articles must remain on the warrant because they are petitions.
Kurpiel said many people might individually donate to either of those charities.
"It's not that we are in opposition to any of them," she explained. "It's just we need to review and prioritize what we think is the best bang for our buck as taxpayers."
Following lengthy discussion, the board turned down two articles relating to Stamford Family Day. The articles would have asked voters to raise and appropriate $5,000 for a fireworks display, and an additional $3,000 for general expenses.
Kurpiel called the plan "fiscally irresponsible," while Selectman David Bugbee questioned why the day was the responsibility of the town.
"There should be a committee, that committee should come in front of the board," he said.
Selectman Thomas Houghtaling said the event was initially sanctioned as a town event because the town's insurance wouldn't cover it otherwise. Town meeting will be held on March 4.
To reach Edward Damon, email