LANCASTER — An­tel­ope Valley Union High School District’s Board maj­or­ity awarded K12 Sec­ure a $48,500 contract at Thursday night’s meeting.

Board President Robert “Bob” Davis sought to keep public testimony focused on the contract and not the vendor. K12 Secure is a new company started by Bruce Frank, one of Davis’ former co-workers from the California Department of Cor­rections and Re­hab­il­i­ta­tion.

Davis, Board Vice Pres­i­­dent Victoria Ruffin and Clerk Amanda Parrell voted in favor of the con­tract. Trustees Jill Mc­Gra­dy and John Rush voted no.

The agreement went back before the Board with “spec­if­ic, delineated terms nec­essary for a contract,” ac­cording to district of­fi­cials. The previous pro­po­sal was approved before it could be properly vetted by district staff.

According to the con­tract, K12 Secure will charge the district $10,400 for 80 hours’ work that in­cludes a “gap analysis” with a policy and procedure re­view, interviews with dis­trict employees, and a physical security audit of all district facilities. Frank will charge the dis­trict a further $7,800 for 60 hours’ work for a “pol­icy and procedure de­vel­op­ment,” where Frank pro­po­ses to consult with an administrative rep­re­sen­tative regarding the find­ings of the gap anal­ysis.

Community member Rod Penner asked during the public comment period wheth­er they can expect the gap analysis to be com­plete­ly neutral and not sup­port Davis’ pre­de­ter­mined concerns.

“Why wouldn’t you want to know that your car is not running cor­rectly? There might be some­thing there that you may not have seen,” Davis said.

Penner asked what hap­pens if the analysis comes back with no major issues or concerns.

“Then you know what? I’ll apol­ogize all day long,” Davis said.

Penner asked whether there was training com­po­nent to the contract.

Davis said no. He said Frank re­moved it from the pre­vious pro­po­sal, which originally topped out at $62,240.

In fact, there is a train­ing com­ponent worth up to $22,500 listed on the con­tract. The training is contingent upon the out­come of tasks No. 2 and 3, according to the contract.

“If there are no major issues or concerns as a re­sult of this an­al­ysis, will you remove that training com­ponent in an effort to save money for the dis­trict?” Pen­ner said.

“We’ll look at that fur­ther. I will; I’ll check that out,” Davis said.

Penner also cited con­cerns that the K12 Secure con­tract was the beginning of an effort to replace the dis­trict’s security per­son­nel.

“Will you publicly state that there is no intent now, or in the future, to replace the district’s security per­son­nel with a private sec­urity contract, which would be very lucrative?” Pen­ner said.

Davis noted the district re­cent­ly reclassified all of its security personnel.

“They do an awesome job and I support them 100%,” Davis said.

In fact, Davis voted against the reclassification at the Feb. 14 meeting. The Board voted 3-2 to reclassify its directors of cam­pus security as dir­ect­ors of school site safety in recognition of their ad­di­tion­al responsibilities. Ruf­fin also voted against the proposal.

Penner agreed that the dis­trict’s security per­son­nel do a great job. But he asked Davis to pub­licly state that the K12 Secure con­tract was not the be­gin­ning of an attempt to re­place the district’s sec­urity per­sonnel.

“You’re not going to box me into a corner,” Davis said.

Davis cited the shooting last May at Highland High School in which a student was injured in the arm.

Penner, a retired law en­force­ment officer with 32 years’ ex­per­ience, said that you cannot 100% guar­antee against incidents, or a shooting, occurring despite the tech­nology and other pro­to­cols in place.

Davis agreed, but said you can reduce the risk fac­tors.

“My major concern is that there’s not going to be any attempt to try to re­place district security,” Pen­ner said.

Davis later ac­know­ledged Pen­ner’s concerns and said it is a stretch of the imagination that the dis­trict would replace its sec­ur­ity personnel.

McGrady asked that the con­tract be voted on sep­ar­ately from the rest of the consent agenda.

McGrady held up a lar­ger bind­er that each Board member re­ceived that con­tains the district’s com­pre­hensive school safety plan.

The book includes a review of the district’s pol­ic­ies and procedures as well as state Education Code. McGrady cited a safe­ty presentation by Kris­tina Ramos, director of Personnel Services, at the Feb. 14 meeting. She also talked about campus safe­ty walks conducted last year. All of those items, she said, are what Frank pro­poses do to through the K12 Secure contract.

“If we still felt like he needed to do that we’ve already done all the work for him,” McGrady said.

AV Union High School Dis­trict would be K12 Sec­ure’s first client, she noted.

If safety is truly a con­cern, McGrady said, and there needs to be other eyes looking at what the district is doing, then why doesn’t the district go out to bid and find a company with a proven record.

Davis likened K12 Sec­ure’s analysis of the dis­trict’s security policies and procedures to an ac­cred­it­ation through the Ac­cred­iting Commission for Schools, Western As­so­ci­ation of Schools and Col­leges, though it is not clear what value a K12 Secure evaluation would hold.

Student trustee Noah Sveiven said there are im­portant dis­tinc­tions be­tween WASC and K12 Sec­­ure.

‘WASC is an organization that we need to have a stamp of ap­proval of, but K12 is a non-nec­es­sary ex­pen­diture,” Sveiven said.

Sveiven also noted there is a lack of trust for the proposal.

“No amount of alleged fear can overcome that ab­sence of trust,” Sveiven said.

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