By LeAnn R. Ralph
ELK MOUND — Visitors to schools in the Elk Mound school district will soon have to wait to be let into the building.
The Elk Mound Board of Education approved installing video intercom units and door entry buttons at the board’s January 21 meeting.
Office personnel will be able to see people on the video monitor and will have to “buzz” them into the building, said Dr. Ron Walsh, school district administrator.
The cost for the video units and door entry buttons will be $2,970 for the high school and $1,780 each for the middle school and elementary school, he said.
The price includes hardware, the wiring and the programming, Dr. Walsh said.
Teachers already have key fobs that work only in certain areas and at certain times of the day, he noted.
Board of Education members said they thought a total price of about $6,500 was reasonable for added security at all three school buildings.
The security units also will record video and could be used either for certain situations or all of the time, Dr. Walsh said.
Kyle Jenson, board of education member, said the schools are buildings that belong to the public but that the school board also needs to be “sensitive to recent happenings.”
Jenson was referring to the massacre of 20 six- and seven-year-olds and six school staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut in December.
“If we are going to use them, I would prefer to see them used all the time. We owe it to the students and employees to keep them safe,” Jenson said.
Some schools will not let parents in after a certain time, and they are instructed to drop their children off and pick them up in front of the school, noted Eric Hanson, principal at Mound View Elementary.
Eric Wright, principal at Elk Mound Middle School, noted that parents are “constantly” coming into the middle school to bring uniforms or lunch money or forgotten homework or for a variety of other reasons.
Jenson wondered how much the security cameras would increase the workload for the office personnel.
Hanson said he had checked with other schools and was told the security cameras and door buttons are “an adjustment” but as is the case with other new technology, office personnel “get through it.”
Another aspect of school security is to “train kids not to let people in,” noted Tim Sivertson, board of education president.
Students at Elk Mound High School volunteer at the elementary school, and they think it is easier to go out and come in a back door closer to the elementary school, said Paul Weber, high school principal.
Sometimes the students will put a pencil in the door so they can come back in, he said.
“The students have to know there will be consequences if they put something in the door when they go to the elementary,” Sivertson said.
Procedures will have to be developed for all of the buildings, Dr. Walsh said.
Hanson said that the principals could develop procedures and then report to the Board of Education.
“It would be nice for parents to know the policies,” Jenson said.
Sivertson pointed out that the information can be sent home in the school district newsletter and posted on the district’s website.
The Elk Mound Board of Education voted unanimously to accept the proposal from Access Security.
In other business, the Elk Mound Board of Education:
• Recognized Hugh Goodrich, high school guidance counselor, with a Notable Educational Contribution award. Goodrich has worked in the district for 11 years. “The work he does with students is outstanding,” said Paul Weber, high school principal.
• Learned that Lexi Grossbier, the student council representative on the Elk Mound Board of Education, would not be attending the meeting because she was in Washington D.C. at the inauguration of President Barack Obama. Lexi went to Washington as part of a leadership group that she has been involved with since eighth grade, Weber noted.
• Learned that the school district has received a rebate on workers’ compensation insurance in the amount of $10,878 from Liberty Mutual.
• Approved course fees for the 2013-2014 school year. The fees will remain the same as this year and will not be increasing but more classes have been added to the curriculum that require fees for disposable items, Dr. Walsh said.
• Approved graduation requirements that include a required government course and a required personal finance course. The government course was part of government and law, which has now been split into two classes, one for government and one for law. The half credit of personal finance is part of the business education curriculum. Introduction to Technology has been reduced to nine weeks from 18 weeks but also now is needed as a pre-requisite for all tech-ed courses. Students still need 28.5 credits to graduate from Elk Mound, and a total of 32 credits are possible.
• Approved paper bids from a variety of companies, including Marshfield Book and Stationery, School Specialty, Quill and Standard Stationery in the total amount of $18,947.87, which is $1,186.63 more than last year’s low bids for paper.
• Approved a motion to proceed with the process of hiring an additional special education teacher for the Elk Mound school district.
• Approved spaces available for open enrollment in each class from pre-school to 12th grade. Students who open enroll into the district are typically twice as many as the students who open enroll out of the district, Dr. Walsh said.
• Approved a motion to approve the district’s amended 403(b) plan for tax sheltered annuities. The amended plan brings it into compliance with federal regulations, Dr. Walsh said.
• Approved CESA 10 contracts in the amount of $52,645 for physical therapy services, energy management services and technology services (such as Distance Learning).
• Approved a two-year 66.03 agreement with the Independence School District to share the special education director services of Wendy Stuttgen.
• Discussed a variety of resolutions for the Wisconsin Association of School Boards’ convention in Milwaukee that started the following day, including an opposition to spending tax dollars on private schools for the school voucher program.