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December 09th, 2019

5 22 18 school board recap photoUSD 480 Director of District Systems Michael Stovall, left, and Convergint Technologies representative Curt Mies give a presentation about the installation of keyless entrances in all the USD 480 buildings during the board’s most recent meeting Monday evening. L&T photo/Elly GrimmELLY GRIMM
• Leader & Times


With recent events out of Parkland, Fla. and Santa Fe, Texas, parents of schoolchildren throughout the U.S. are wondering more and more about the safety and security of their children in their school buildings. 

During its most recent meeting Monday evening, the USD 480 school board approved a measure that would greatly help with just that with the approval of a  of a keyless system for the USD 480 buildings through Convergint Technologies. 

“I was charged earlier this year to find a keyless entry system that would be for our whole district,” USD 480 Director of District Systems Michael Stovall began. “We went and looked for one that would be compatible with our system and compatible with our camera system and compatible with PowerSchool. It is a Zonar card reader system and everything’s done with one card. We won’t have to replace any card readers already in place, it’s just a simple process of moving it onto the Salto system, and that’s pretty simple. We can pull everything with that up in our system like who’s coming and going from our buildings with their cards – for example, If Nick Hatcher tried to get into, say, my office, that will come up and will be documented. We can set the doors up to be locked at a certain time, we can set them up to be locked down if the need arises. We had to touch every door in our district to make sure what it would take to make our doors compatible with a keyless system.”

The biggest thing, Stovall said, is the system is compatible with that’s already in place in the district’s 1,300-plus doors. 

“We don’t have to reinvent the wheel, we don’t have to install a new camera system, we don’t have to have a new system everyone else talks to, this is already compatible with what we have,” Stovall said. “Our students will each have one card that will be used for the lunchroom, the library and as their student I.D.”

“You might be wondering why we’re looking at this for the new buildings,” Superintendent Renae Hickert said. “I don’t like the locks on the new buildings because you have to have a key to lock in from the inside and the outside and we’ve had instances of teachers getting locked in their classrooms and not being able to get out.”

After this came a lengthy discussion among the board. 

“Don’t we already have this system already in our buildings?” USD 480 Vice President Travis Combs asked. “ I just don’t want to be paying for something we already have. We haven’t done the due diligence yet to go out and get the training and bring in the services we already currently have.”

“Not for the interior doors,” Stovall replied. “We have some of the exterior doors set up. We did demo it at the east campus.”

“When we did the evaluation, we found you have the P2000 system but it’s on select doors and windows in select buildings, you don’t have it on all your perimeter doors,” Convergint Techologies representative Curt Mies said. “So if hypothetically there’s a door that gets propped open there’s no audible signal that goes off and alerts someone to check it and make sure there’s no threat, that’s just one example.”

Further lengthy discussion went on amongst the board members on the details of how the system would work. 

“If we actually received what we’d paid for from JE Dunn, that would be good,” USD 480 President Steve Helm said. “We’re having all these construction issues. I’m not blaming the bond project manager, I’m just frustrated we’re being asked to spend nearly $2 million in our brand new schools for this. It’s time for JE Dunn to step up.”

“Safety is the number one priority with the students, we’re concerned about all of them,” Stovall said. “And it works great with your A.L.I.C.E. program because with the three options, they’re already built in because if I don’t have access to a room, essentially there’s already a barricade there because of the system. And with PowerSchool and your implmenting FlexMod scheduling, this system will also help register the last places his card was used so that type of thing can be kept track of.”

After several more minutes of conversation on the issue, the board ultimately approved the Convergint Technologies installation of a keyless system for the district’s buildings for $1,866,925 by a margin of 4-3, with Combs and fellow board members Nick Hatcher and Alan Brown voting no. In other business, the board also approved the purchase of textbooks for middle school business departments, PBL professional learning for all seven schools for $52,500, and the purchase and installation of playground equipment at Bright Start Early Learning Center. 

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