By Andrea Paldy
As another school year drew to a close, the final Three Village school board meeting of 2016-17 brought news of security enhancements and the district’s third phase of spending for its Smart Schools Bond allocation.
The Smart Schools Bond, an initiative approved by New York voters in 2014, allocated $2 billion to public schools across the state for education technology, preschool classrooms and security.
Three Village received $3.39 million from the fund, which is being spent on hardware, equipment and infrastructure. Speaking at the district’s final meeting for the school year, safety and security coordinator Jack Blaum said that the final phase of spending — about $1 million — will include an upgrade to security cameras, digital video recorder storage and card key access devices.
The district will convert cameras it already has on its properties from analogue to digital, Blaum said. Besides those cameras, located both in the interior and on the exterior of district buildings, officials plan additional digital security cameras at each school and will install wireless cameras at the two junior high schools to monitor the athletic fields. There is already a surveillance system for the fields at the high school.
To accommodate all of the new cameras, new DVR units will be purchased for the district’s schools. Blaum said the upgrades will also boost the number of key card readers at doors for faculty and staff at all schools, the North Country Administration Building and the old administration building on Nicolls Road. He said that there will also be additional ID scanners in building vestibules to produce visitor badges.
He discussed turning the old administration building into a command center where cameras and security vehicles could be monitored.
For Phase 1 of the Smart Schools Bond, money, about $1.2 million, has been budgeted for upgrading network infrastructure. Phase 2, recently outlined in April, will see the district spending about $1 million on classroom technology and on the district’s one-to-one device program that will provide notebook computers to junior high students.
The plan was posted to the district’s website for a 30-day period to allow residents to comment. The 30-day comment period has now passed, and the district is currently in the process of submitting the plan to the New York State Education Department for approval.
While the district still awaits approval of the first two phases of spending, he anticipates that many of the security requests will be “fast-tracked.”
Coordinating security within the district is like running a small city, Blaum said.
“All the infrastructure is great but, again, the support of all the staff and all the students are crucial,” he said.