Grapevine-Colleyville trustees spend $114,000 on security upgrades, assessment

Posted Thursday, Jan. 31, 2013  comments  Print Reprints



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GRAPEVINE -- As security worries continue to push financing to the second page of school leaders' concerns, Grapevine-Colleyville trustees voted Thursday night to spend some money for peace of mind.

More than $114,000, mostly from surplus bond funds, was allocated to upgrade security systems at 22 schools and to authorize a comprehensive assessment of facilities' security.

Immediately, a door security system will be put at the entrance to every school, the new Career and Technology Center and the swim center. The upgrades include cameras, monitors, push-to-talk intercoms and remote door releases for admitting approved visitors.

That's expected to cost $58,806.

Each school, the swim center and the Early Childhood Development Center will also get an identification checking system for visitors that will verify whether they have a record of sexual offenses.

That system will cost about $35,200 and include software to sign in and out, facial recognition software, a scanner printer for badges and silent alarm triggers.

The facilities assessment will be conducted by Huckabee and Associates.

Some schools will require major renovations. The architectural firm will help the district create construction budgets for security projects. A security consultant will be hired to assist Huckabee personnel so the assessment can be completed within 60 days. The assessment will cost $20,000.

Superintendent Robin Ryan said there are three tiers of security measures that districts can consider -- those that don't cost anything extra, those that cost some money, and those that cost "a lot of money."

"Tonight's item was in the middle of that, things that we can pay for with funds we can access immediately," Ryan said. "We're trying to do all we can in the area of no cost, such as locking doors and making sure visitors are noticed."

The facilities assessment will help them prioritize the big projects.

The board did address some financial issues.

Trustees approved a new incentive plan to encourage departing employees to give early notification of their intent to leave.

The plan would reward the first 20 teachers to announce their intentions with as much as $8,000, depending on their salaries. Teachers could get $750 added to the bonus if they have perfect attendance between their announcement and their departure date in July.

"Basically, this is necessary because we're losing students," said Paula Barbareaux, the district's chief operations officer. "Our goal is not to fill 10 of those teaching positions."

The district's estimated enrollment for 2013-14 is 13,202.

That's a decrease of 154 students from 2012-13.

Trustees also approved a new policy on intra-district transfers that will bring in more students and more funding for them.

Students would have to attend whichever school is not at capacity for their grade, not the one closest to their home.

Nonresident students who could transfer would be those currently living in Grapevine or Colleyville but residing in a different district, such as Keller or Hurst-Euless-Bedford. Also eligible are students whose grandparents or guardians live in the district, those wishing to enroll in the career tech program (with a $1,500 fee), and those applying to attend a virtual academy.

The district estimates that 300 students would be affected, netting the district between $201,600 to $256,600.

Schools with capacity to take more students are Bransford, Cannon, Glenhope and O.C. Taylor elementaries, Colleyville Middle School, and Colleyville Heritage and Grapevine high schools.

Trustees approved another set of class size waivers, for six classrooms in Dove, Bear Creek, Silver Lake and Heritage elementaries. Trustees said classroom aides are added when all classrooms in a given grade at a school are above the 22:1 teacher-student ratio.

“This is very much related to the loss of state funding,” Ryan said.

A 2012-13 budget update showed less of a projected deficit than expected.

"Most budget news is not good news, but this is better than most," Ryan said.

The anticipated deficit is $5.5 million, down from $8.1 million.

State revenue will be about $285,000 less than budgeted because of the decrease in students. The district anticipated 13,392 students, but current enrollment is 13,331.

Additional federal funding of $314,000 helped offset that.

The $5.5 million deficit will be covered by fund balance.

Utilities are also coming in $309,215 below the budgeted amount.

Shirley Jinkins, 817-390-7657

Twitter: @startelegram

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