Voters Asked to Consider Security Investment
Over these past few months, our district has focused keenly on the question of security. We have had numerous internal discussions and public exchanges on how to best ‘harden’ our schools from intruders, improve our safety and security protocols, and educate parents, students and staff on protecting ourselves from the ordinary and the extreme.
With the help of our local and state police we have increased the training and current drill procedures with our staff. This has been realized through increasing the frequency of drills, enhancing normal security protocols and making better use of existing technology resources. These relatively routine modifications have come with some cost, but given our present climate, there is no question in our minds of their necessity.
Today, the larger consideration is the scope of security upgrades that will make a much more tangible impact on how we conduct ourselves, how visitors are engaged, and how the authorities and others are communicated with during a crisis. In a thoughtful and deliberate manner, we have researched and identified a number of additional improvements we believe are essential for the district to employ.
As a result, the Board of Education is putting forth a $1.47 million security bond issue as a second proposition in the May election. The investment calls for the implementation of technology hardware and communication system improvements to bolster our existing security systems. These include: a single point of entry system and security booth at each of our schools; a visitor monitoring system, which includes a rigorous protocol for gaining access to the schools; a districtwide video/DVR system; a new districtwide phone system (including walkie-talkies) with full public address, video and alarm system integration; and window film.
Original discussions centered on integrating these systems over a period of roughly seven years through our annual budget. But our Board was not satisfied with this pace of integration, and felt it was of critical importance to give voters the opportunity to improve school security through consideration of a comprehensive package.
Using a bond to fund this work will enable the district to complete all of the planned improvements in one year, while receiving the financial benefit of an additional 19% state aid and paying for them over the next 15 years, creating only a nominal tax impact. Further, by bonding for these upgrades we are not impacting our educational programs.
Please make sure that you learn about this important initiative and our regular budget at any one of the upcoming budget hearings which are in the MS/HS Library Community Room:
- April 3 7:30 p.m.
- April 17 7:30 p.m.
- May 8 9:00 a.m.
All budget materials are also listed on our website. Please take a few minutes to review the materials and ask questions. Your participation is vital not only for our present students, but for the economic stability of our community. Each vote is vital; if you are out of town the day of the vote you do have the option of participating through an absentee ballot.
Applications for Absentee Ballots are available in the District Clerks Office (located in the Rye Neck Central Office, 310 Hornidge Road) between the hours of 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and may be picked up by the voter or his/her representative. Applications are also available in the school offices. The application must be returned to the District Clerk.
Once the application is reviewed and accepted, an Absentee Ballot will be issued. Completed and signed ballots may be hand-delivered by the voter, his/her representative, or mailed. In order for the ballot to be counted, it must be received in the District Clerk’s Office no later than 5:00 p.m. on the day of the vote, May 21.
Please Note: If ballots are mailed, please make sure that there is enough time for them to be received by 5:00 p.m. on May 21.