School Security Must Be a Priority, Bureaucratic Excuses Are Unacceptable

Dear Commissioner Elia: Attached please find a letter requesting your immediate attention to the school district’s Smart Schools Bond Act funding application of the Wappingers Central School District (WCSD). The district wants to install security vestibules in their 13 schools that don’t currently have them. Frankly, James McNally of the Office of Educational Management is not taking the security of our students seriously. He makes excuses about manpower issues and accepts the delays. He told the district in a recent email, “You are in Expenditure Review as of last June, and the one staff member we have doing that is working on November 2016.” Rather than try to improve the process, McNally told the district in an email, “ It will likely be some time before you are reviewed and hopefully approved.” This lack of urgency about the safety and security of our students by a high ranking state education official who makes more than one hundred thousand dollars per year is not acceptable! My office produced this video about my unannounced visit to DOE offices when McNally would not return calls and emails. Click here to watch video. News coverage of DOE’s failure to take school security seriously. Click here for Poughkeepsie Journal Article. I look forward to your prompt response to my concerns and to seeing the appropriate action taken. Sincerly,
Kieran Michael Lalor
Member of the State Assembly
105th District