Randolph School To Get High-Tech Security Through Bond

RANDOLPH — Members of the Randolph Central School Board of Education approved the preliminary plan for Part 2 of the Smart Schools Bond Act Project at its meeting that will include additional high-tech security features.

Superintendent Kaine Kelly said the board’s thoughts were, instead of investing in computers or tablets that will be obsolete in three to five years, this is something that can be put in place for a number of years. The board thought this would be the biggest bang for their buck and, in the end, it’s clearly a hot topic that’s appropriate for this time.

“The stipulations of the bond act limit the use of these funds. We felt that an investment in high-tech security was the best choice we had available back almost a year ago when these decisions were being made,” he said. “It will give us the most longevity for our investment and couldn’t be more timely, based on the current environment.”

According to Kelly, the technology upgrade will include new servers, wireless internet and increased high-speed WiFi. They plan to replace 98 out-dated, existing cameras (a mix of analog and first generation IP cameras) and add 201 cameras (120 interior and 81 exterior). He said many cameras have a 180 and 360-degree coverage area to maximize the views from single camera device. A total of 299 high-definition cameras will be included in the system. All corridors and stair towers, exterior doors (interior view and exterior view), the gymnasiums and auditorium, as well as all parking lots will be covered.

Additional high-tech security will include License Plate Reader (LPR) cameras at both driveway entrances that will allow for tagging of license plates from national registration databases.

Kelly said every exterior door will be covered with card readers, including the bus garage, along with sensors to provide notification of doors being held open. He said there will be “remote lockdown” of all exterior doors through the use of an app on their mobile phones, so anybody on the administrative team will be able to lock-down the entire perimeter of the district. There will also be a Lockdown Visual Notification System in large group assembly and high ambient noise areas.

“Safety is clearly our number one priority, and I don’t buy into the idea that an incident is not going to happen here,” he said. “There are tons of schools in the region where it has happened, so we are not going to rest on an idea that we don’t have to worry about [it] because we’re Randolph.”

Kelly said the district is beginning to focus very heavily on its students’ social, emotional and mental well-being. Social worker Alyssa McCutcheon has been added and working in conjunction with her is School Resource Officer Kale Luce who is a deputy with the Cattaraugus County Sheriff’s Department. According to Kelly, Luce is in uniform and armed, but he’s more of a counselor. He said those services are paid for by a set-aside within Foundation Aid for Community Schools programs.

The Smart Schools Bond Act (SSBA) was passed in the 2014-15 Enacted Budget and approved by voters in a statewide referendum held during the 2014 General Election Nov. 4, 2014. The SSBA authorized the issuance of $2 billion of general obligation bonds to finance improved educational technology and infrastructure to improve learning and opportunity for students throughout the State.

“This project will put us on the cutting-edge of high-tech security locally for public schools. It also puts us in a position to take our security to the next level, should funding for school security become available,” he said. “Soon, our administrative team and our board of education will be having conversations around exactly what that will look like. The best approach to security varies from location to location. It is important we identify which approach is the best for our students, staff and community.”

For more information, visit the New York State Education Department online at p12.nysed.gov, email smartschools@nysed.gov or call the Office of Educational Management at 518-474-6541.