School Officials Ask County To Provide Funding for Safety and Security Projects

Board of Education requests additional $ 3 million for secure entrances, cameras at elementary schools


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The school board has asked the County Council for additional money this year to pay for security upgrades and has urged the council not to cut funding levels for future projects.

The request is for $500,000 in capital funds to start designing controlled entrances at eight schools that currently lack the security feature, which guides visitors to the main office, according to a memo by Superintendent Jack Smith. The funds would enable Montgomery County Public Schools to expedite this work so the new access systems would be in place by January 2019. Otherwise, the projects wouldn’t be completed until summer 2019, the memo states. 

Smith wrote that more funding down the road will be necessary to add the controlled entrances at any remaining schools and expects to return this fall to ask for the money.

The resolution approved earlier this week by the Montgomery County Board of Education also asks the council for another $2.5 million in operating funds to pay for replacing and upgrading aging access control systems and installing cameras at elementary schools.

Smith wrote that the camera and intercom systems at some schools need to be replaced, a project estimated to cost $1.2 million in total.

Elementary schools in MCPS typically have cameras at the entrance but usually don’t have them throughout the building. Smith recommended spending about $1.3 million to install cameras, as MCPS seeks to determine the appropriate level of surveillance at elementary schools.

These requests for funding stem from a recent MCPS report on school safety and security throughout the system.

Finally, the school system has asked council members to fully fund its request for money for technology modernization in the six-year plan for capital improvements. County Executive Ike Leggett has recommended cutting about $3.6 million from spending on the technology modernization project, the memo states.

“It will not be possible to address the outlined technology security infrastructure needs through the Technology Modernization project if these proposed reductions are approved,” Smith wrote.

Bethany Rodgers can be reached at bethany.rodgers@bethesdamagazine.com.

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