Here’s what it will cost to bring school security up to par

by Brianna Crandall — October 30, 2017 — The Secure Schools Alliance recently created what is being put forth as the first-ever school security construction cost estimates, and to do so, it relied upon school security and safety guidelines produced by the Partner Alliance for Safer Schools (PASS), established by the Security Industry Association (SIA) and National Systems Contractors Association (NSCA) to advise K-12 schools.

According to SIA, when discussing school security infrastructure and security technology, legislators and policymakers always ask: “How much will improvements cost?” The group asserts that these new cost estimates from Secure Schools Alliance provide a realistic look at the resources needed to take action. They are said to be the first set of hard numbers based on a specific set of recommended guidelines for this purpose.

To create security cost estimates, PASS steering committee members first formed a baseline budget based on actual costs from Littleton Public Schools in Colorado, which used the PASS guidelines to upgrade security infrastructure and technology, explains SIA. Then, understanding that costs vary by market, the number of public schools in each state was considered and broken down by type (K-8, secondary, and other) to determine what costs would be by state and school type for each PASS tier level.

SIA CEO Don Erickson stated:

A lot of specialized expertise went into development of the PASS guidelines, and SIA is pleased to see those guidelines serve as the basis for national construction cost estimates. SIA is a strong supporter of the Congressional School Safety Caucus, a coalition of members of Congress collaborating on school security and safety issues, and the new estimates from Secure Schools Alliance provide our advocates with real-life, hard numbers that they can use as the basis of a dialogue with legislators on how to best improve school security.

Robert Boyd, executive director of the Secure Schools Alliance, explained:

While a few states — like New Jersey and Connecticut — have passed rules regarding security improvements for K-12 schools, there are still no approved national standards for such security infrastructure improvements. The PASS guidelines represent an opportunity for the United States to embrace a consistent set of goals for security infrastructure, security technology and life safety systems for public schools while respecting local norms and not forcing unfunded mandates.

Boyd continued:

Most incidents of mass violence in elementary schools (94 percent), and one-third of such events in middle and high schools are caused by intruders. We can stop intruders — and now we know what it costs to help do so. It is time to launch a national discussion about standards to improve the security of K-12 schools.

The Alliance’s construction cost estimates are available on the SIA School Security Web page​.

To learn more about PASS, or to download a copy of the PASS guidelines, visit the PASS Web site.