Uniform standards hope to create safe, secure environment for students and teachers.
By Timithie NORMAN
Members of the Glendale Unified School District board of education met March 20 to discuss the latest plans for Measure S funds, which included numerous updates and renovations to the safety and security of all 43 campuses in the district as well as the district office buildings.
A presentation given by Eva Lueck, the district’s chief business and financial officer, distinguished areas of need established by a committee headed by superintendent Dr. Richard Sheehan. Areas included classroom security, front office security, general site security, emergency site resources, drop-off area safety, playground safety and seismic preparedness.
“Looking at safety, this report will establish district standards for safety throughout all our schools,” Dr. Sheehan said. “For example, all schools should have a secure front entrance. We need to establish a basic criteria.”
Specific improvements in the presentation included many that would help secure campuses in the event of a lockdown type emergency or natural disaster. It was suggested that each site interior should be outfitted with a public address system, interior door locks, entry cameras with closed circuit TV, and interior alarms including fire alarms. Site exteriors would be improved with additional lighting, secure campus fencing and safe, updated playground equipment.
Part of the site improvement plan included a recent review of the condition of over 400 roofs on district buildings. A National Roofing Consultants study found that though the majority are in good or excellent condition, the district should plan on spending approximately $1.2 million over the next 10 years for roof repairs and replacements.
“That is a big number, but it includes ongoing maintenance,” said presenter Alan Rising. “The number represents a one- to five- year short-term plan as well as a longer five- to 10-year investment strategy.”
Fortunately, Rising said, GUSD is eligible for several programs that reward sustainable development including the California State High Performance Incentive Program and the Southern California Edison Savings by Design program. Both programs could provide cash rebates to offset the cost of site improvements.
The review of safety and security concerns is just part of the picture of Measure S, a voter-approved bond proposition passed in April 2011 that allows GUSD to borrow up to $270 million in general obligation bonds to “provide safe school facilities, upgrade science labs, libraries and technology, improve campus safety and accessibility, increase efficiency and make funding available for classroom instruction” according to the text of the measure.
Already money has been allocated to technological improvements in the amount of $3 million that will provide every teacher with a laptop and technological professional development training as well as an allocation of $50 per student for additional technology investments. Because of its enrollment, Crescenta Valley High School is slated to receive about $150,000, according to Dep. Superintendent John Garcia. He also noted that it is up to each individual school as to how the funds are delegated.
The next step after this initial site review is to examine the Measure S priorities, look at deferred maintenance program and instructional needs, and eventually allocate funds.