School Board Discusses Security Improvements

By Alex Malm

During the May 10 Public Hearing the School Board discussed a proposal to enhance the security in the schools.
It was explained by School District Business Administrator Peter Curro that in March Warrant Article 8 was approved for building security improvements.
For the last couple of years the Emergency Operation Committee has been working to examine ways to improve security of the schools. The committee includes staff members along with representation from the police department and fire department.
“We’re very grateful for our collaboration with LPD,” said Public Services Director Kim Carpinone.
It was explained by Curro that the committee was put on hold for a couple of years because of everything happening with COVID-19.
“We’re playing catchup right now,” said Curro.
As part of phase 1 the plan is to install an emergency alert system. The emergency alert system will be installed in all of their classrooms and in the District Office. The alert activation would go directly to the appropriate building administrators and the SROS. The system would only be used for high level events. They would also be buying new radios to replace their old ones.
The total proposed budget for the project is $399,185 with $350,000 coming from the warrant article and the rest coming from the FY 22 operating budget.
During public comment John Grennin approached the Board.
“I would’ve voted for a million dollars for security improvements to the schools,” said Grennin.
Grennin said that he is in the business and asked if there is going to be a public procurement process.
“I don’t know what we’re even buying,” said Grennin.
Curro said that they used their security vendor for years who put out proposals to three other companies to get bids for the radios. He said that because it is security related the bids aren’t public.
“Its security and its the only reason why,” said Curro.
Board member Bob Slater asked if as a School Board member he could review the bids privately. He was told by Curro that he could.
Curro said that the district is also looking for permission to have $250,000 committed from the unassigned fund balance for wall mounted tablets.
“This piece really enhances the communications if an incident ever occured,” said Curro.
He explained that the reason why they want to have the funds committed is so that when the committee has recommendations on future security needs they can go to the school board and know where the funds would be coming from.
Curro said that the idea came after budget development which is why it wasn’t brought forward previously.
It was explained by Curro that the advantage of committing the dollars to it is that they won’t have to wait for the budget development season.
“Not everything can wait for the budget development and I think this is one of them,” said Curro.
Slater said that he isn’t in favor of holding $250,000 for it.
“I think it’s good I’m not comfortable with holding 250,000,” said Slater.
Slater said that it is a difficult topic and said that he wants to see a sample of the tablets. He said that he also wants the vendor and the safety committee to come to one of their meetings to make a presentation before making a decision.
The School Board ultimately voted in favor of tabling a decision on both phase 1 and 2.

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