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Plans would fortify security, student support

An example of the video surveillance technology that would be installed.District seeks public comment on proposed amendment to the Smart Schools Bond project 

Interim Chief Finance Officer Bill Hogan presented a $3 million plan to strengthen security at district buildings to the Board of Education Wednesday, funded by the Smart School Bond. 

Upon completion, the program would add the following:

Phase I - Student and Staff Safety, $2.19M

  • Emergency lockdown buttons in main offices that would lock all exterior doors with keycard access to everyone but first responders.
  • 360 new video cameras throughout the district and network video recording server. The associated software would also give the district the ability to rapidly search video using object classification, such as blue shirt and khakis, according to Casey Sherman of Day Automation.
  • Card access control on exterior doors.
  • Door contacts on exterior doors (to confirm doors are not left open).

An example of the weapons detection system that would be installed

Phase II - Emergency Notification and Weapons Detection, $908,800

  • Walk-through weapon detection systems to detect firearms at Poughkeepsie Middle School and High School.
  • Digital notification signs on the interior and exterior of PMS/PHS to alert students, staff and community to a lockdown situation. These would be located in classrooms, hallways, gyms, offices.
  • Exterior blue light strobes on the exterior which would trigger during lockdowns.
  • Emergency audio messaging through the existing PA systems.

Chris Bernhard, also with Day Automation, stressed that the weapons detection system “maintains student dignity” by allowing them to walk through at a normal pace - it can process 3,800 students per hour. “These are young kids and you don’t want to demoralize them.”

Bernhard shared that Day Automation specializes in security for schools and works with approximately 350 school districts in New York.

An example of the weapons detection system (top) and the monitor (below) which shows in a red circle, the location of the weapon detected.
“This is a whole other level. This is impressive. It’s modern and wonderful and maintains dignity. I think teachers and support staff and principals - everyone will be pleased,” Board President Felicia Watson said.

Board member Fatima Carmen Martinez-Santiago asked about the response plan if something is detected and was told that someone would need to monitor the system and text messages and email messages can be sent to notify the appropriate people so they can respond to that entrance.

A budget amendment is required to do this and public comment is being sought through March 31. On April 6, the board will be asked to approve the budget amendment.

Sherman said the goal is to receive approval from the New York State Education Department in August.

Work is expected to take a few months for completion.

A budget amendment is required to do this and public comment is being sought through March 31.

On April 6, the board will be asked to approve the budget amendment.

New positions for 2022-23

In addition, the district is proposing adding multiple positions to help improve security and social-emotional supports for students next school year, according to the latest budget proposal.

These positions include a director of school security, additional security monitors at PMS and PHS, social-emotional learning counselors at PMS and PHS, building level culture and climate leadership, school case worker for attendance at PMS and secondary psychologists at PMS and PHS.

Executive Summary of Proposed Phase II

Smart Schools Bond Plan

Smart Schools Bound PowerPoint - Security