El Paso and Pueblo County school districts receive over $1 million to improve emergency communications

Courtesy Widefield School District
Widefield School District Administration Building

Widefield School District 3 in El Paso County and Pueblo County School District 70 are among seven school districts and educational agencies statewide that are sharing over $4.8 million to help improve emergency communication systems. The Widefield and Pueblo County districts each received over $1 million.

In both districts, the funds will help pay for the installation of new equipment and update infrastructure that better connects schools with first responders and emergency personnel by providing a designated communication network.

Aaron Hoffman manages secondary student services at Widefield School District 3. He said the funding will provide the district with a level of response that they have never been able to have before.

“No real learning really occurs without a safe and secure environment for our students and for our staff,” he said. “It was time for us to just enhance and provide that additional layer of support for our schools and for our students.”

Pueblo County School District 70 public information officer Lynnette Bonfiglio said they'll update equipment. 

“We always want to reduce that response time and be responsive instead of reactive,” she said.

According to Bonfiglio, 16 of the 22 schools in the district will see upgrades. She said the district plans to apply again next year to roll out the new system to the remaining buildings. 

The funding comes from a state program called SAFER, or School Access for Emergency Response. It aims to improve communication between school personnel and law enforcement agencies. The state created the fund in 2018 with $30 million spread out over six years.

Other school districts receiving funding include Moffat Consolidated School District #2 and Alamosa School District.