Southwestern implements safety measures
Tuesday, August 27, 2013 11:00 AM
Additional safety measures are being implemented at the Southwestern schools this year.
Jason Watson, principal of Southwestern Elementary School, said that a new sign-in system has been implemented at his school.
When entering the elementary for the first time, visitors will have their driver's license scanned. The image is then kept on file and checked against a national sex offender registry.
Watson said the identification needs to be scanned only one time, but every time a person signs in, their name is checked against the registry, which updates weekly.
"I was apprehensive at first, because of the inconvenience" Watson said. "But we've gotten a positive response to it so far."
Equipment is ready to have to system installed at Southwestern Middle and High School, but Watson said they're waiting to make sure there aren't any bugs in the system.
"I want to know before I (install the system) that everything is working well."
The system will also, eventually, handle student check out and pick up for students.
At Southwestern's school board meeting Monday the board also approved a request for participation in a Secured Safety Grant Program. The matching grant is good for up to $50,000.
Superintendent Steve Telfer said the grant would pay for a school resource officer in each school building, as well as new security equipment, such as additional and replacement cameras.
"I think the game changer was Sandy Hook (Elementary School) in December last year in Connecticut," Telfer said. "Our General Assembly then put together this proposal... because there's a lot of talk about school safety, obviously."
A school resource officer's annual salary would be $28,000 a year, Telfer said.
The grant can only be spent on school resource officers, for the school to conduct a threat assessment and the purchase of equipment to restrict access to the school, or expedite the notification of first responders.
Also at the meeting, corporation treasurer Laura Boldery announced that Southwestern Early Childhood Academy Director Angela Rizzo has resigned. In a letter presented to the board, Rizzo said she was relocating to Louisville to pursue a new career.
The board hired Melinda S. Gammons for the job opening, per Boldery's suggestion. Gammons is a Madison Consolidated High School graduate, with a degree in elementary education.
The board also approved the hiring of a new aide, Alice Thurnall, at the preschool because of enrollment requirements.
In other business:
The board will have a public session to discuss the 2014 budget at the Sept. 30 school board meeting. Boldery said she is advertising $16.8 million dollars in state appropriations, which is more than she anticipates receiving from the state.
"We can never go higher than I advertise," she said. "But we can go lower."
The budget includes a $12 million request for the general fund - up from $11.5 million - and $2.2 million in capital projects, which remains the same from last year.