Guilford County Schools lays out plan to step up security using funds from $10 million bond

GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. — The Guilford County school board voted during Tuesday evening board meeting to move forward with funds to improve their safety and security plan.

The $10 million two-thirds bond the county commissioners approved earlier this year would benefit the school system's integrated-technology to make sure all 72,000 Guilford County students and the 10,000 faculty and staff are as protected as possible.

"This is the first step to jump-start this process to basically initiate action with the board of county commissioners for the $10 million two-thirds bond that they committed to last year. This provides a framework for what those funds will be used, for but, more importantly, it shows the boards support for us to move forward to use those funds for this purpose," said Scott McCulley, chief operations officer for Guilford County Schools.

The Safety and Security Improvement item on the agenda passed in an 8 to 1 vote.

Security improvements include allocating $4 million to go toward access controls like exterior and interior doors on the school's campuses. Another $2.5 million would be allocated to adding a two-way radio communication system which would connect to local law enforcement for emergencies and incidents.

For additional surveillance cameras and software, $2 million will be used to purchase cameras for 60 of the elementary schools. They would also update the existing surveillance cameras to middle and high schools in the district.

The remaining balance would cover upgrading and updating fire alarms systems, student IDs and contingencies plans in place just in case something goes wrong.

Scott McCulley, GCS chief operations officer, explained how the safety plan would work and answered any remaining question board members had regarding the plan before they took to a vote.

Byron Gladden was the opposing board member, who wanted to explore more options when it came to how the two-way radio communication systems would work for classroom trailers. It's now something the chief operations officer said they would look further into.

"I think one of the concerns was making sure that we had radio's available to staff in mobile units certainly that's something that we're going to take a look at...I thought it was a great point and I acknowledge that....and that's something we will take back and study," said McCulley.

The next step in this process is for the school board to ask the county commissioners to place this item on their next agenda.

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