Archive for Wednesday, March 12, 2003

Camera system approved for BHS

March 12, 2003

The Baldwin High School will soon be under surveillance.

The Baldwin Board of Education approved in a 5-1 vote the purchase of a nine-camera security system from Swain Electrical Controls for $13,255. Board Member Linda Rogers voted against the motion and Board Member Curtis Trarbach abstained.

The approval for the security system came after several break ins and incidents of vandalism at the high school, the most recent causing several thousand dollars in damage.

The approved security system, which will be purchased with money from capital outlay funds, consists of eight indoor digital cameras and one outdoor digital camera.

"It's a system we can expand, which is what we wanted," Supt. James White said. "The only additional fees would be to upgrade the system and add more cameras."

The cameras are motioned sensored and will be used to monitor students during the day as well as the building at night.

The cameras, which won't be concealed, are computerized and will be able to be accessed from anywhere by anyone with the password and a computer. White said the Baldwin City Police Department will be able to monitor the high school from the department or patrol cars and the high school principals will be able to monitor the building from home.

BHS assistant principal Bret Jones said Suzanne Evinger, the district's school resource officer, was pursuing a grant that would cover 75 percent of the cost of the security system.

Some board members wanted to know if the nine cameras would be enough, or if the district would have to add more in the future.

White said he didn't know, but he hoped the ones in place would be enough.

"Maybe it will be enough of a deterrent that we won't have to add more cameras," he said.

In other business, the school board:

  • Approved in a 7-0 vote the closing of the Early Childhood Center after May 31.

"It's not being cost effective for us to operate any longer," White said.

Currently only 10 students use one classroom at the Baldwin Elementary School. At one time, the ECC had 33 students in two classrooms.

  • Approved in a 7-0 vote to adopt a reading class policy. The policy states that high school students scoring two or more grade levels below their grade level in reading comprehension will be required to enroll in a reading class for the school year.
  • Received a list of budget adjustments from White.

White said the district would have to cut around $56,000 from next year's budget to cope with state cuts and increased gas costs.

Some of the items listed included going to a four-day week, eliminating the district's share of the costs for the school resource officer, eliminating elementary art, increasing book rental fees, building use fees and activity participation and activity pass costs, reducing library and music services at Marion Springs Elementary School and Vinland Elementary School to part time, and terminating the vocational educational contract with Ottawa.

Board President Ed Schulte said the district would also have to remember other cost-related items that would affect the budget like the new elementary school, staff negotiations and further educational cuts from the state.

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