The current three-year school district safety and security cycle for school districts began on November 1, 2020 and will end on August 31, 2023. School District safety and security audits required by Texas Education Code (TEC) 37.108 must be completed during that cycle. The COVID 19 extension for the 2017-2020 school district audits resulted in the changes to the school district 2020-2023 audit cycle. The current cycle will therefore be two months shorter for the 2020-2023 audit cycle for school districts.
A school district may begin the reporting of specified audit results to the Texas School Safety Center (TxSSC) following the superintendent’s or their designee’s receipt of district’s link to their online District Audit Reporting Tool (DARtool). This tool will be emailed to superintendents and designees in April of 2023 and must be submitted to the TxSSC by September 15, 2023.
The newly established open-enrollment charter school safety and security audit cycle began on September 1, 2019 and will end on August 31, 2022. Open-enrollment charter school audits must be completed during that cycle.
In this toolkit, “district” or “school district” refers to both school districts and open-enrollment charter schools. Junior college districts may also be referred to as “districts” when citing statutes, however this toolkit is designed for school districts and charter schools as there is a Higher Education Safety and Security Audit Toolkit on the TxSSC website to address junior college safety and security audits.
The Texas Education Code 37.108 states:
While the term “audit” is included in TEC 37.108, the process developed by the TxSSC was designed as a self-assessment of a district’s safety and security. Audits should be an ongoing process with the aim of identifying hazards, threats, and vulnerabilities that might pose a danger to life or property or may interfere with a safe, secure and healthy environment that is conducive to teaching and learning. Attention to safety and security should not be thought of as an annual or a once every three-year event. Districts are encouraged to integrate ongoing safety and security assessments into everyday activities, including planning, training, and drilling of emergency procedures.
While state statute requires that at least once every three years, an audit of district facilities be conducted, safety and security may be enhanced by implementing ongoing identification and improvements. These proactive measures to make continual improvements should also make the three-year reporting more effective.