Greene Co school board slates summer projects

The Greene County Schools board of education at its April 20 meeting approved $77,000 in summer projects including $43,000 to resurface the all-weather track at Linduska Field, but put the brakes on spending $14,500 on electronic door security for the four school buildings.

The projects will be paid for with physical plant and equipment levy (PPEL) funds.

Currently, at each school all entrances except one are locked during the school day. Signs ask visitors to check in at the principal’s office. The proposal was to lock all entrances, but to install a security camera at the main entrance. Visitors would be “buzzed in” by office staff once they were viewed via the camera. Visitors would still be expected to report to the school office before going elsewhere in the building.

Superintendent Tim Christensen called the security system “a two-edged sword.” “I think that’s the direction the community wants us to go… I’ll admit I struggle with it. In terms of not being as inviting as it could be, that’s one of the challenges. But in this day and age, I also understand the need to be secure,” he said.

“I think that’s what they want, but I don’t know that this would make the buildings that much more secure,” board member Sam Harding said. “It depends how we use them.”

Harding said he has visited school buildings all over the state, many of which he had to be “buzzed” in to, and there was little attention to where he went after he entered. “We’d have to make sure we follow our procedures.”

He also told of visiting one high school with secure entrances, but when he got to the gymnasium, the doors were wide open to bring in fresh air.

Board member Mike Dennhardt was also skeptical of the plan because of the lone camera at the door. “I agree the public does want it, but I don’t think it’s going to do any good,” he said. He also asked if the offices were staffed enough to watch the camera monitor all day. Christensen added, “and is that what we want staff to do?”

According to Harding, “the cameras would make us more secure if we have procedures that work… You’re only as secure as your procedures… The cameras are an illusion of security. If we’re going to do it, we have to have some good procedures in place that we don’t violate.”

The board members agreed they want some type of security system at the schools, but they asked to see the procedures and policies that would go along with the cameras before approving the project. “I want to make sure we have a good system and we’ve thought out the problems,” Harding said.

Installing electronic door security will be on a future board agenda. The board was cautioned that delaying approval might mean the project cannot be completed this summer.

Projects the board approved, in addition to resurfacing the track, include $6,400 to replace cabling needed for technology at the elementary school, $25,000 for asbestos abatement at the administration building and the middle school, and $2,800 for air quality testing after the abatement. In March the board approved $12,780 to replace the carpet in three elementary classrooms and $27,600 to purchase a full size van.

Resurfacing of the track is needed every 7-10 years, Christensen said.


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