UPDATE: Monday, May 6, 2013
The Wichita Schools Board of Education unanimously vote to approve millions of dollars in security improvements.
The Board authorized the district to purchase hardware, software, and services from Aventura Technologies for the design and installation of a Centralized IP Surveillance solution in the amount not to exceed $3 million.
Funding for the system has been planned through the supplemental general fund.
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Monday, May 6, 2013
Wichita schools superintendent John Allison has recommended using $3 million to upgrade the district's "outdated" surveillance system in an effort to boost school security.
The Wichita school board will review the proposal at tonight's board meeting.
Allison said the current system which features analog cameras and dial-up modems to access video, was put into place 9 years ago. He said it's complex and inefficient.
For example, if there is an incident at a school, security officers have to physically go to that building and pull the surveillance video and make a copy. For a school district with more than 100 schools and a estimated combined 10 million square feet of space, that wastes time and resources, he said.
He said surveillance video technology has come a long way.
"Technology changes so rapidly and this (proposal) will give us chance to utilize what's available to improve the safety and security of our schools," Allison said.
The proposed upgrades would include new high-definition cameras, new computers, and a revamped dispatch center that would centralize operations. Video from all the district's schools would be available and accessible at that dispatch center.
"It's absolutely vital," Allison said. "We have to maintain the safety and security of our buildings."
In terms of the buildings themselves, the proposal addresses the safety of school entrances. The district is looking into using electronic doors with keyless entry to better control who is coming in each school.
The proposal has been in the works for more than a year, Allison said. It has drawn ideas from teachers, administrators and local law enforcement.