Campus safety enhancements coming to VISD

February 21, 2013

At this week's Victoria school district board meeting, superintendent Robert Jaklich gave a presentation on security enhancements scheduled for all of the elementary school campuses (there are 18) and one middle school (Howell Middle School).

Howell was recognized as a safety priority campus from the other three middle schools in VISD (Patti Welder, Stroman and Cade) because of its structural set-up that is strategically "weaker" than the other "newer" schools.

The enhancements include card security swipers being added through out different points on campus (does this mean all of the entrances?) and security cards for employee's on campus (again, does this mean all employees? Probably). Forty-two card readers were included in the plan, which means... there must a total of forty-two employees spread across 18 to 19 different campuses.

It seems like there might be more than that.

And shouldn't each employee have a security card so they don't get locked out?

Maybe the cost of card readers have to do with the seemingly small number being budgeted in the planned enhancements.

For 42 card readers, Jaklich has estimated a total of $112,500 to be spent on the initial implementation.

The cards will be set with specific times designed to each holder's schedule.

If a card is damaged, they will be replaced at a cost, Jaklich said will be cheaper than replacing a physical, metal key.

And while some of the newer schools already have security walls by their front offices (Schorlemmer and Torres), other campuses are still in need of "containment areas" to keep intruders from advancing without the approval of the front office clerks.

The walls began as an initiative after 9/11.

And third, an enhancement whose cost has yet to be determined or factored into the district's proposed estimate... includes four cameras and monitors requested at Howell, Shields and Hopkins.

The idea is to allow administrators and staff in the front office to see visitors requesting access to the building. The district is still waiting on estimated costs but earlier estimates showed a predicted amount of $1,000 per set-up.

Finally peep holes (and no, not those kinds).

At the rural schools, the district hopes to build peep holes, for teachers to be able to look out and see who is requesting entrance to the building through miscellaneous doors spread throughout the buildings.

But shouldn't they get cameras too?

Security card readers: $112,500 Security walls: $125,620 Peep holes: $200 Total cost: 238,320 Total estimated cost: 242,320

Monies available from Freeport Exemption Tax, district general fund, campus funds and parent teacher organization donations: $215,524

The difference without the camera cost: 22,796 The difference with initial camera cost ($1,000 per system, VISD is planning for four): 26,796

How will VISD make up for the difference?