Three elementary schools to get added security with camera buy

Three of Huntington County Community School Corporation’s elementary schools will get more security in the way of new cameras after the purchase was approved by the board of school trustees during its regular meeting Monday, Dec. 16.

The security system was approved 6-0 at a cost of $99,914. School board member Tim Allen was absent.

The cameras, to be purchased from Stylus Technologies of Bluffton, will be installed at Lincoln, Flint Springs and Horace Mann elementary schools.

Scott Bumgardner, assistant superintendent for business and classified staff, explained that a discussion about the need for the cameras arose last spring because students were “taking off” from school buildings, causing concern.

“We started talking about the need for security cameras in our elementary schools, so we started planning for this last spring,” he said. “A lot of this has already been approved in the new Roanoke Elementary School. The need for cameras there has been identified and is part of that budget.”

Bumgardner added the corporation is aiming at putting all of the nine schools’ camera systems on one system. The GeoVision IP camera system will place about 25 high-quality cameras at each elementary school, covering main entrances and recess areas. Each school will have its own recording server in the event of power failures.

Director of Technology Tom Ashley said the new camera system can be duplicated at every school building and can provide better access to law enforcement in case of emergency. He added the need for the upgrades is urgent.

“The high school is running four systems and their system is running Windows XP, which is not supportable any longer,” he said.

Ashley added that there is no subscription fee, schools can add cameras to the system as needed and software upgrades are free.
“We’re very excited – it’s something that has been needed for a long time and it’s something that we can now finally have a centralized, robust camera system at all of our schools, and should be able to meet our needs,” he said.

New security cameras for Salamonie and Andrews elementary schools as well as the two middle schools will be addressed in the future, Bumgardner said.

The board agreed, taking little time to approve the purchase.

“It sounds like something we should have done a long time ago,” said board member Kevin Yarger.

The board unanimously approved another big-ticket purchase to replace the roofs at Lincoln and Flint Springs, both of which sustained damage from hail. That nod went to Millwood Roofing and Construction for its bid of $569,300. Another $119,564 was approved for a rubber membrane to be replaced over the library area in the middle of the school building.

Bumgardner said the roof damages are insurance claims that went to bid because the corporation wants to upgrade from a shingle roof to a metal roof on the replacements and would likely have to contribute for the upgrade costs. But he said the costs to upgrade to metal were about twice the cost of shingles, proving to be too high a price the corporation was willing to pay.

The laminated shingles have a 20-year warranty, Bumgardner said.

“Those bids came in at right around what the insurance company had refunded us,” he added.

Among other action items before the board:

• A one-time stipend of $3,000 was approved to pay to Bridgett Burkhart for marketing duties. Superintendent Chad Daugherty said the district is no longer paying an outside company for marketing services. Burkhart’s duties have increased with social media posts, district press releases and communications with the public.

• A contract with psychologist Carolyn Hill was also approved, at $45 per hour for services provided while working directly with HCCSC staff or students, with the amount not to exceed $1,800 weekly.

• The board considered on its first reading 17 policy revisions to the Vol. 30 No. 2 handbook. Details of the revisions can be found on the HCCSC website at https://go.boarddocs.com/in/hccsc/Board.nsf/Public, under the “Regular Board Meeting” link. The revisions address issues such as nondiscrimination and equal employment opportunity, anti-harassment, reduction in force (RIF) in certified staff and use of seclusion and restraint with students.

• The reappointments of Laura Dillon and Sandra Denney to the Andrews-Dallas Township Public Library were also unanimously approved.