School related safety discussions dominated the business USD Board of Education members addressed from their agenda on Monday.
Board members gave their thumbs up to allow for about $10,000 in additional expenditure in an effort to ensure that the installation of higher quality security cameras in all the school facilities is complete this school year. The estimated cost for the project is $107,000.
Funding for the cameras will come from the Safe & Secure Schools grant awarded from the State of Kansas in the amount of $31,750 and an equal amount required from the school district brings the total to $63,500.
Donna Noll, director of technology education, said she and Director of Special Education David Myers have been involved in the security camera upgrades throughout the past years. The district has annually allotted $40,000 for installations and upgrades at some of the schools on a rotation basis.
Current digital technology has been refined to a point that one new camera might have the ability to replace the equivalent of two cameras currently in place. The digital camera images are also of a higher quality. However, the available funds from the grant and standard allotment falls about $10,000 short to include all the schools in the district.
Superintendent Renee Scott emphasized the $107,000 is only an estimate, and that the exact cost remains unknown until the camera company does a walk through to determine the project needs. The actual final cost might be less than the estimate. Scott recommended starting as soon as possible on the camera project.
Board members also heard a report from Atchison Assistant City Manager Justin Pregont about the Safe Routes to School sidewalk improvements project. Pregont said the ongoing improvements have been made possible through a partnership between city of Atchison, the school district and Live Well Live Atchison.
The project has benefited from about $3.5 million in funding by way of Kansas Community Block Development and alternate transportation grants. Director of Public Works Clinton McNemee, city of Atchison, wrote the grant applications, Pregont said.
The project was based on survey findings that indicated about 25 percent of Atchison Middle School student population walk to school, about one-sixth of the school’s population walk to school in the mornings, but after school the number increases to 33 percent.
Funding in the amount of $400,000 awarded for work in the Fifth Street and Second Street corridors are the most recent projects, and are substantially complete, meaning Kansas Department of Transportation grant guidelines do not allow for sowing grass until after Aug. 15.
The projects have provided a safer and generally ADA compliant route to AMS, Pregont said. He indicated the efforts are ongoing to apply for additional funding for sidewalk and pedestrian route improvements whenever the opportunities arise.
Board members recessed from public session for seven minutes to discuss matters of non-elected personnel with Scott.