BY KRISTEN BUCKLES
Ruritans, area businesses and parent-teacher associations will soon be hearing a knock on their door as members of the Greene County Education Safety Committee prepare to request donations for safety improvements in Greene County Schools.
The committee, composed of Greene County Commission members and Board of Education members, met on Thursday to hear updated cost projections and to prioritize projects.
The committee, chaired by board member Nathan Brown, set the following priority list for safety improvements in the schools:
* First priority, according to the committee, is to ensure that every school has a safety entrance.
The school system has already budgeted for safety entrances at West Greene, South Greene and Chuckey-Doak high schools, Brown said.
He and fellow board member Kathy Austin agreed to address the need for capital projects funding in the school system budget to be re-prioritized, if possible, in order to also provide safety entrances at the three schools that neither have such a safety entrance nor have the funding in place for the installation.
These include Nolichuckey and Glenwood elementary schools, and the T.H. McNeese Center.
Brown estimated the cost of these remaining entrances at $53,000.
* Radios and earbuds for every teacher and administrator are next on the committee's list.
Greene County Sheriff's Department Deputy and safety advisor Nick Milligan informed the committee that he was able to price 90 two-way radios and earbud sets from Walmart at a significantly reduced price than had been previously reported.
Brown noted that the school system will need nearly 700 of these sets, which the committee estimated to cost a total of $20,000.
* Third priority for the committee was magnetic locks on entrance doors that would allow the secretary in the front office of schools to buzz visitors into the building.
Maintenance Director David Myers estimated the cost at $1,500 per unit.
* Next on the list was a single camera for the main entrance of each school that would provide a monitor for the school secretary to see whom he or she is buzzing into the building, as well as the ability to record and, as funding is available, to add up to 20 cameras around each school.
Brown requested that Myers research estimates on the cost of such systems.
* Milligan advised the committee to place fifth on the priority list the securing of classroom doors in schools where doors and walls exist instead of partitions.
This includes providing a working handle that locks from the inside on every door, Milligan has explained.
* Finally, sixth on the priority list is to place a full camera system around each school.
The committee also discussed various other items, such as placing signs on side and back exterior doors to remind students and staff not to open those doors for people and to instead direct them to the main entrance.
"I personally think we've got almost all the information we need," Brown said. "Now it's just finding how much it would be and looking for resources."
Anyone interested in making a donation for a specific school or to the system in general for this use may do so in care of Mary Lou Woolsey at the Greene County School System's Central Office.