Archive for Thursday, May 17, 2007

Board discusses school security issues

May 17, 2007

Recent threats of school shootings and bombings have drawn the attention of Supt. Paul Dorathy and the Baldwin School Board.

Although no action was taken at Monday's meeting, Dorathy did present the school board with information regarding door security and an automated phone system.

"That is something we want to address," Board President Alison Bauer said. "We heard some information tonight, but we didn't make a decision tonight because we haven't studied it enough. We are going to continue studying it and get something in there as quickly as we can."

Dorathy first presented the board with prices to secure the doors of Baldwin Junior High School, Baldwin Elementary School Primary Center and the District Office. He said the District Office was only included because it is attached to BESPC.

The estimate projected the cost between $12,000 and $14,000 for the two schools and $7,000 for the District Office.

"My feeling is we need to continue looking at this, but I don't want to make a recommendation to the board tonight," Dorathy said Monday. "I want to find a way to do this at the best price with quality equipment."

Dorathy explained that those buildings were the only ones involved because the company looked at them during that one day.

Board Member Scott Lauridsen suggested that the board should look at something for every building.

"I think we need to shoot for a district-wide security system for the entire district that will last until we get to the bond issue," Lauridsen said.

Although they want to add security to those two schools, the school board members are cautious about only securing two of the six buildings.

"So far, we don't have information about making all of our buildings secure," Bauer said. "We are seeking information, but we need to address it across all of our buildings. We had it on some of them. Since we are doing a facilities plan and we'll hopefully be doing a bond issue, we need to make all of our schools safe in the interim. Then we need to look to the future if we are going to reconfigure or building new buildings."

Dorathy agreed with Bauer.

"I think the board wants to see what is absolutely necessary to take care of the buildings," Dorathy said. "Parents have an expectation that buildings should be safe and secure and that has come to the point where buildings should be locked. We are looking at what's necessary for kids and staff to be safe and secure in all six buildings."

During his superintendent's report, Dorathy informed the board about a telephone service that would contact all of the district parents.

Dorathy said the system would cost approximately $3,200, but he would bring the exact amount to the June 4 meeting.

"I've got a quote that I am going to bring to the board at the June 4 meeting," Dorathy said. "A message will go out immediately from myself or a principal. It will be a good communication tool to get information to parents in a timely fashion."

The automated system would be used to call district parents if a bomb threat or school shooting threat were to be issued. Eudora already has one in place and its system was used during the recent threats.

Dorathy said the phone system could be used for other things also, including contacting staff or parents about upcoming events or weather-related issues.

"This system can actually be used for more than just threat scenarios," Dorathy said. "It can be used to notify parents about calling school off for inclement weather, calling school off early for inclement weather, reminding parents when parent-teacher conferences are or letting staff know we are going to have a meeting on a certain date."

He also said the district can have up to 99 different lists of numbers to call and would have unlimited calling during the year. He said that it would cost an additional $175 per building for the company to pull information off of Power School. That would help keep information current in case a family or student moves in or out of the district.

The board will continue discussing security at its June 4 meeting.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.