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Education leaders: Gun measures good for schools

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Albany/HV: Education leaders: Gun measures good for schools
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The devil's in the details, and that's what people are trying to sort through. There's a lot to read in the new state and federal gun measures, but so far, school officials say they've found some good. Our Megan Cruz has this story.

GLENVILLE, N.Y. -- "Good morning!" said Lisa Porter. It's her job to monitor everyone coming in and out of O'Rourke Middle School. The once cut position at Burnt Hill-Ballston Spa now recreated for safety's sake.

"You take care of roofs, you take care of windows, you take care of busing and transportation, and you take care of security," said Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake Superintendent Patrick McGrath. "Those are kind of the baseline things."

A priority brought to the forefront by Sandy Hook. The massacre calling the school district to action, but also our leaders.

This week, both the state and federal governments have enacted new gun control measures, some specifically aimed at protecting kids at school. For example, one of the 23 executive orders signed by President Obama gives incentives to schools to hire resources officers.

State education leaders applaud the move.

"We polled our people, asked them if should there be federal money for school resource officers, and 68 percent said absolutely yes," said Tim Kremer, the Executive Director for the New York State School Board Association.

But no details about what those incentives are, and Superintendent McGrath says he doesn't want to wait to find out.

That's why the district's looking to fill a new position: Director of School Safety and Security, "which requires some law enforcement experience, it requires a person who not only understands not only how to conduct security, but also how to train and teach others about security."

Another part of the district's security plan is to beef up the technology in all of their buildings. At O'Rourke, they already have seven security cameras, but the superintendent says there's other tools out there that could help make the school even safer.

"Swipe card systems, buzzer systems," he said.

All things the state says it'll pay for.

Under the new NY SAFE Act, the state will now help foot the bill for security-related projects by boosting each district's building aid formula by 10 percent.

People say officials are taking aim at the right targets.

"If there's a pool of money there available for us and we could use that to upgrade access into our schools, we'll take advantage of that," said Kremer.

"Bringing a person onboard who has the ability to influence security throughout the district is a worthwhile investment," said McGrath.

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