School board OKs spending on security

Three down, three more to go.

The Board of Education unanimously voted to approve three school security capital items Monday night.

The items, which will cost $851,113, include access control, cameras and mass notification system.

Craig Tunks, the district’s director of information and operations development, estimates that it will take approximately three weeks to officially purchase the items. The items will then take 60 to 90 days to install.

Access control will include interior and exterior doors that will cost $154,294 and $251,000, respectively.

Security cameras — located at all elementary school playgrounds, and all main entrances, doors and parking lots — will cost $325,906.

The board approved using $151,000 out of the 2012-2013 operating budget for a security mass notification system, shrinking the total cost of the capital items to $731,200.

The mass notification system’s hardware will feature security “beacons” throughout all the schools that will trigger lights and speakers to announce different security situations.

The emergency communication system’s goal is to reduce response time and increase security inside the building. The system will ensure police, students and staff are notified in an emergency as quickly as possible, Mr. Tunks said.

When Mr. Tunks recommended the three capital items  at a  June 10 meeting, board members wanted to know why other ecurity gates, window film and vestibule entrances were not up for approval this year.

Superintendent Deborah Low responded that access control, cameras and mass notification addressed “more immediate needs than the other items” and that  the district can act on the other plans in the future.

“We certainly need the other items presented tonight but we can’t do it all at once,” Ms. Low said. “The cost of the vestibules is still undetermined and we could only have them installed during the summer because it can’t be done while school is in session.”

“The three items we’ve been asked to vote on work better on our timeline and we know exactly what their costs are and what the timeline is for their installation,” she said.

The items still have to face approval from the Board of Finance as well as a town meeting.

“While I can’t speak for the other members of my board, the Board of Education, Board of Selectman and the Board of Finance have been discussing these capital requests, in which case, the money would come from 20 year bonds — as will the $3.7 of capital items approved by votes in May, ” said Board of Finance Chairman Dave Ulmer.

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