KINGSTON, NY — School district officials have renewed talks about spending $3.2 million on safety upgrades. The money for the upgrades would come from the $5.32 million allocated to the district by the state’s 2014 Smart School Bonds Act.
The proposal was considered on Wednesday at an Education Council public hearing that drew just one speaker with questions about privacy involving improvements to the video surveillance system. Officials said video storage capacity would increase but the viewing policy would not change.
“It’s the same as a student record,” Superintendent Paul Padalino said. “Just like data on any other student information…that’s one of the reasons we don’t make copies and give it to people.”
The plans proposed by officials are scaled down from a version proposed a year ago. At that time, community objections led to the withdrawal of security projects in favor of holding forums to solicit ideas and provide information about the limits of how funds could be spent. Padalino said additional forums are planned to develop plans for balancing smart school funding.
Improvements proposed under the plan include:
* Replaced cameras and added storage capacity.
* Installation of new access points in schools to improve security.
* Replace intrusion alarm systems.
Padalino said the changes are significant for buildings that were designed decades before school safety became a major concern.
“In our elementary schools in particular, we have multiple doors,” he said. “The (physical education) teachers go out with their classes. They must either have a key or have someone to open the door for them. Put more magnetic pads on these doors (nd), it will be easier for the teacher and safer for our students. If we have to go into a lockdown or a lockdown or a lockdown and have students in the field, we can bring them in. »
Officials said that of the 69 comments recently received during the comment period, many, such as salary increases, were not permitted under the state’s smart school guidelines. Padalino also said security upgrades wouldn’t normally have the same amount of help available as technology items, so replacing existing security infrastructure wouldn’t be cost-effective.
“We’re going to be able to get 46 cents back on every dollar on all the computers we buy,” he said. “We’re leveraging any help…to make sure we buy the things we can buy that way.”