School officials sometimes pay $10,000 or more for school security assessments when the most experienced evaluators in the nation regularly conduct more comprehensive school security assessments for far less money. While our analysts have assisted with school security assessments for more than 5,000 public, charter, parochial and independent schools, we have never billed a client that much for even the most comprehensive assessments.
We recommend that schools and school districts seek multiple competitive bids for school security assessment projects. School officials should also conduct due diligence in selecting vendors from what is an almost totally unregulated field. While a medical doctor or attorney can lose their ability to practice for severe misconduct, there is no such mechanism for school security consultants.
While there are many solid school security experts, the lack of regulation in the field combined with the massive demand for services has resulted in a proliferation of school security experts who have serious skeletons in their closet such as a felony arrest for theft, or who lack appropriate relevant professional qualifications to perform proper school security assessments.
Here are a few tips that can help school officials determine the most qualified school security experts while also reducing costs of a school security assessment project by as much as 70%:
- Bid the project widely. A proper bid circulation can result in 20-30 competitive bids.
- Make cost count for at least 25% of the decision-making for the project. While weighting costs too heavily can increase the exposure to civil liability in future school security litigation, bidders for school security assessment projects should have incentive to keep costs down.
- Require and verify at least six to twelve references for K12 school security assessment projects.
- Require bidding vendors to list any client who has fired the firm or terminated a contract for services.
- Require vendors to list all open records requests they have filed, protests and litigation involving clients can be most revealing.
- Make falsification of credentials or untruthful answers to any of the above requirements grounds for immediate termination of the contract. As with applications for employment, you should retain the ability to address any situation where a vendor is untruthful.
These simple steps can help you weed out problematic vendors while making the cream rise to the top. The closer you look, the better the most qualified school security experts look.