Safety is high priority for school board

Staff writer

School safety was, for the second meeting in a row, the large topic of discussion for Peabody-Burns Board of Education. At Monday’s meeting the board discussed the purchase of two main door buzz-in/video systems that would allow all school doors to remained locked throughout the school day.

“The system would control who could enter the building and help us monitor traffic in and out,” superintendent Ron Traxson said.

Traxson said the systems are relatively cheap compared to other safety systems, costing around $1,900 each. Traxson plans to purchase two of the systems to be installed on the main doors of the elementary and middle/high school.

Those wanting to enter the building would press a buzzer, then be identified by someone in the office by video feed. Teachers and other building staff would still have key access.

Traxson also wants the board to allocate around $5,700 for four cameras to be placed around the elementary school and other safety areas. Traxson’s main point of concern is the playground.

“If we have a camera on the playground, if any bulling is going on or if someone is being inappropriate towards the kids, we’ll have camera footage to reference,” he said. “It’s just one more step to securing the building.”

The board wanted to know about the number of keys that were lost or “floating” around.

“There’s more than we’d like to admit,” Traxson said. “It would be costly to rekey the whole building.”

While no instance has happened yet, the board requested Traxson look into an electronic key card system that would use cards with magnetic strips to gain access.

“A system like that is going to be expensive,” he said. “The good thing is if someone lost their card, you could just deactivate that card and not rekey the whole building. It would also log who was entering the building when.”

Traxson said the problem would be deciding what doors would have the electronic system, and which would be locked to the outside permanently.

“The buzzer system would cover our two main doors, where the key fob system would need to allow access to other doors such as the weightlifting room,” Traxson said.

Traxson said he will complete research on both system types and present a plan at the next meeting on Nov. 11. If approved, Traxson hopes to install the cameras and the buzzer system during Christmas break.

Sport participation was also a hot topic, as the board approved to allow dual participation in cheerleading and basketball for the 2013-14 season.

“We have a couple of kids that do this already for volleyball,” Traxson said. “They have indicated they want to do the same for basketball. It will help participation in both sports.”

Traxson said as the budget gets tighter, the board will have to evaluate the relevance of low participation sports such as cross-country.

“It’s not something we want to do,” he said, “but it’s something we’re going to have to evaluate on an individual year-to-year basis to see if it’s worth it to the school to pay the fees.”

The board discussed a proposed plan to merge the Marion and Peabody-Burns golf teams. The board said they were in favor of the merge, but were waiting on USD 408 Superintendent Lee Leiker to propose the final agreement.

Traxson hopes to have the agreement finalized by December.

In other news,

  • The board approved a grant that will provide healthy snacks and healthy eating habit classes to students in the elementary school.
  • The board viewed photos taken by the Adventure Club during their summer Colorado trip. Group leader Gene Green said the club has 10 new members this year.
  • The district received a good audit report from Agler and Gaeddert of Emporia with no violations found. The audit projected the district would pay off its long-standing debt of around $1.2 million by 2017.
  • The board discussed hiring a collections company to collect outstanding bills from past students. Traxson estimates the bills to be in the amount of $3,000. The board asked him to research companies that could do the collecting.

 

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