Two Colchester schools were selected to receive state grants to improve safety and security features.
Colchester Middle School and Malletts Bay School will each receive $25,000 to enhance technologies that protect students, faculty and staff, a press release from Gov. Phil Scott’s office said last Wednesday.
In June, the district’s schools were among the 261 statewide to apply for the safety grants, a $5 million program passed as part of the budget adjustment bill this past legislative session. The measure received “overwhelming bipartisan support,” according to the letter.
“The only thing our kids should have to worry about in school is whether or not they’ve completed their homework or prepared enough for the big test,” Rep. Alice Emmons (D. -Springfield) said.
In its application, CMS requested funds for a video monitoring system to record areas of the building with the capability of remote access for law enforcement personnel to view footage. The document cited a lack of monitoring equipment as leaving a “critical gap in deterring, detecting and tracking threats to school personnel and property.”
“Student safety is a top concern,” the application reads. “A surveillance system will help monitor incidence of harassment, bullying and inappropriate behaviors as well as tracking and monitoring threats and intrusion in the building.”
CMS listed the total cost of the project as $34,455 and requested a capital grant share of $25,841.25 with a 25 percent school match of $8,613.75.
Additionally, the middle school applied for funding to install a lock button, allowing office staff to “quickly lock all exterior doors” with the push of a button. The central system would address the lack of a quick method to secure all doors in case of an intruder, the application says. The school requested $1,125 in capital grant funding with a 25 percent school match of $375 to fund the estimated $1,500 project.
MBS asked for grant money to install a new paging/notification system, the application shows. According to the document, the current system is no longer supported by a vendor and has surpassed its useful service life.
“The equipment has had numerous sporadic problems which staff have been able to to fix up to this point in time,” the application says. “But it is unreliable and requires replacement.”
MBS requested $25,443.04 in capital grant aid with a 25 percent school match of $8,481.01.
District communications specialist Meghan Baule declined to discuss full implementation and cost details until the money is in hand but was grateful Colchester schools will be safer.
“That’s a big thing that they’re pushing in Montpelier, and we’re happy to have the grant dollars to do that and not have to try to figure out how to do that with our own budget,” she said.