Published Date Written by Gail OberLACONIA — After meeting in a hours-long budget session last month, School Board members decided that small improvement plans over the next four years including this school year should be focused primarily on safety said board member Malcolm Murray at a Facilities Committee meeting last night.
The committee, which met during the hour before the School Board meeting, discussed the each safety item identified in the "four-year look ahead" and asked the administration to readjust the strategic plan to reflect the School Board's safety priorities.
School District Business Administrator Ed Emond said the capital strategic plan was developed before the recent school shootings in Newtown, Conn. and before the School Board's priorities were set at "Super Saturday."
Including in the look-ahead over the next four years are security cameras for all five schools — including inside security cameras at two area elementary schools, panic alarms in all three elementary school, and interior classroom locks in city schools except the Middle School and Woodland Heights. The Middle School is new and already equipped and Woodland Heights is now on track for a panic room, which was moved forward from 2014-2015.
Some of the aforementioned items — including the panic alarms — were budgeted for next year but the hope is that as the school year progresses the district would be able to pay for them and other safety concerns from existing school budget.
Taking a back seat to security items this year and next could be landscaping at Elm Street School, a walking path and a fence around the Dumpster at Pleasant Street School, and some upgrades to the kitchen and bathrooms at the SAU office — all tentatively scheduled for 2013-2014 budget year.
Also taken from the 2012-2013 priority list are roof repairs at Pleasant Street School that Emond said are needed but not critical, an auto scrubber for the Middle School, and some tree removal at Elm Street School.
Also on the priority list for next year that the district hopes to move to this year are $36,000 for internal door locks at the Laconia High School. Right now, according to the administration, each classroom door must be locked from the outside and cannot be locked from the inside.
Emond said there are 101 doors in the high school that should be fitted and each lock costs about $300. He said the locks would be designed such that every teacher and administrator has a master key and can lock the inside of every classroom regardless of where they are teaching.
The subcommittee also wants improvements to the cameras around the perimeter of the schools. While there are external cameras now, the resolution is such that faces and license plates cannot be read from many of them.
Emond said he would take the suggestion of the Facilities Committee to the Safety Team — comprised of educators, administrators, and representatives from the police, fire and public works departments and solicit their opinions today.
He said the district will have a revised strategic plan for the Facilities Committee for presentation at 6 p.m. March 19. If approved by the Facilities Committee the revised plan would go to the Budget and Personnel Subcommittee and then to the full board for action.