Uvalde CISD delivers end-of-year safety, security report at final board meeting of 2022

Work to fully secure all campuses to new standards is currently underway, officials say

UVALDE, Texas – In the final Uvalde CISD school board meeting of 2022, safety and security were top of mind as the interim superintendent delivered a year-end report.

“The amount of money we have been working with in district on all of these projects if we’re going (unintelligible) -- the line is about $4.9 million,” said Gary Patterson, interim superintendent.

The district spent almost $5 million in grants and funding on safety and security changes, according to Patterson.

Those funds include but are not limited to money spent on fencing, police department equipment upgrades, cameras, new doors and salaries.

However, the work isn’t done yet.

“Zero percemt completion because those have been back-ordered. We’ve run into supply chain issues, materials issues,” Patterson said when explaining why the replacement doors for the Uvalde High School campus haven’t been started.

Patterson said the effort to install secured vestibules on all campuses is currently on hold.

“Those bullet-resistant materials are difficult to get right now, and that’s why the vestibules have been delayed,” he said.

On Monday, it was revealed that the district was subject to an intruder detection audit mandated by Gov. Greg Abbott on June 1, 2022.

The audit was conducted by the Texas School Safety Center in collaboration with the Texas Education Agency.

All of the exterior doors were locked. However, an intruder was able to get into one campus’ cafeteria because the door didn’t latch.

Patterson said a staff member reported the intruder shortly after spotting them.

“The delivery of goods into loading docks was just something honestly that I overlooked, but I won’t overlook next time,” he said.

Patterson reiterated the district is in the process of hiring a new police force that will have active shooter training.

Berlinda Arreola, grandmother of Robb Elementary victim Amerie Jo Garza, asked that the state troopers on campus pay better attention during their patrol. She shared a picture of an officer sitting on his phone.

“Now I know that an audit, or whatever you want to call it, was done, and I know one of the schools -- somebody just walked right in. This is probably why, because they’re not paying attention to our students,” Arreola said.

Patterson talked about a security center where all of the cameras installed on campuses can be monitored in one place.

He said nothing like that had existed in Uvalde CISD before, so they’re in the process of building it.

The next Uvalde CISD school board meeting will be on January 16, 2023.

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About the Authors:

Leigh Waldman is a news reporter at KSAT 12. She joined the station in 2021. Leigh comes to San Antonio from the Midwest after spending time at a station in Omaha, NE. After two winters there, she knew it was time to come home to Texas. When Leigh is not at work, she enjoys eating, playing with her dogs and spending time with family.

Joe Arredondo is a photojournalist at KSAT 12.