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Security at schools funded

by | July 4, 2019 5:00 am

Last Updated: July 3, 2019 at 9:54 am

Photo by GEORGE SALSBERRY
PRAYING FOR ASSISTANCE. Area pastors gathered at Colleton County High School last week to pray for success in the new school year.

The funding to improve the security systems of the schools of Colleton County School District was among the financial items presented to the members of the school district during the June 25 meeting.
Among the paperwork provided the board members by school district School Superintendent Dr. Franklin Foster and Finance Director Emily Temple were the Capital Project Budget Report, a listing of the $1.45 million in capital projects planned by the district for the 2019-2020 fiscal year.
The district’s technology department had two projects on the list: $100,000 for technology equipment and $450,000 for the district’s various security systems projects. The security system funding was, by far, the largest of the capital project’s allocations.
The members of the school board have made improving the security of those school buildings one of their top priorities.
Traditionally, the board of education schedules executive sessions at the end of a regular board meeting. In the June meeting, it was held near the beginning of the board session.
Colleton County School District Coordinator of Communications and Public Information Sean Gruber said the decision was made to conduct the executive session earlier in the meeting to allow board members to discuss the development of security personnel or devices prior to the board taking action on the Capital Projects List.
In their discussions about efforts to improve school security, the district’s administrators and board members have walked a fine line. Some of the topics could be talked about in open session, other topics had the officials going behind closed doors because school officials did not want some of the specifics of the over-all security plan to become public knowledge.
Gruber said the $450,000 Capital Projects allocation closed-door discussion involved the use of the allocation to install additional security cameras in every school building, efforts to implement new technology and equipment to better secure door access, and the additional wiring that will be needed in the schools to implement both those security enhancements.
The technology department’s equipment $100,000 allocation, Gruber explained, will cover the department’s purchase of miscellaneous supplies and equipment.
Board members also heard from Foster and Temple about the continuing work on the 2019-2020 fiscal year budget.
The school board and administration has petitioned the Colleton County Council for approval to increase property taxes by 4.41 mills in order to help address a projected $1.1 million shortfall in the proposed budget.
School administrators have been working to shrink the size of the shortfall while awaiting county council action on the request.
Those maneuvers meant that the school district would not have its 2019-2020 General Fund budget completed and approved before the current fiscal year ended June 30.
The school board has approved a continuing budget resolution that will allow the district to continue operating and paying its bills even though a new budget is not in place.
Foster also updated the board on the status of the work to relocate the sewer line serving Colleton County High School.
The line had to be moved in preparation for South Carolina Department of Transportation and Colleton Transportation Commission’s plans to install turn lanes at the intersection of Bells Highway-Tuskegee Airmen Drive and Academy Drive.
The work on the line relocation was completed the day after the board meeting. If the work was completed by June 30, SCDOT covered the cost of the relocation. If the deadline was missed, the school district was required to foot the bill.

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