While trustees were in closed session early the evening of Jan. 15, a man wearing a coat, pajama bottoms and slippers -- and carrying a shotgun -- robbed a small market across the street from Stockton Unified headquarters.
Stockton Unified Police Chief Jim West said officers from the district and Stockton police departments quickly intervened and made an arrest.
Given Stockton crime rates and the horrific school shootings last month in Connecticut, it was no surprise that security at district campuses was a prime topic at the board's first meeting of 2013.
The district has been on edge in recent months after incidents involving guns at two K-8 schools and a high school, none of which resulted in injuries.
The centerpiece of the safety discussion was a presentation by the police chief.
West presented recommendations made four years ago by the California Commission on Peace Officers Standards and Training that called for increased staffing of the Stockton Unified force. The recommendations were never implemented, West said, because of the California funding crisis.
Among the recommendations, which come with a nearly $700,000 price tag, are the addition of two sergeants and three officers. West said his force is overworked and especially struggles to serve Stockton Unified's 40 K-8 campuses.
"We need additional operating funds," West told the school board. "We're squeaky tight right now."
No decisions were made at the meeting, but Superintendent Steve Lowder said the district must find a balance between its law enforcement funding and providing programs that will prevent students from taking the wrong path.