D-W discusses school safety

School safety was a topic of discussion at the DeLand-Weldon school board meeting Feb. 20. In the wake of the Feb. 14 shooting that killed 17 people in Parkland, Florida, it has been a common theme at board sessions throughout the area and nation.

DeLand-Weldon already requires visitors to be buzzed through locked outside doors during the school day, but at least one additional safety measure is being considered after the latest school shooting.

“One of the things we talked about is we don’t have phones in all of our classrooms, so we are looking at VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) in each classroom,” said district superintendent Amanda Geary. VOIP would take advantage of the district’s high speed internet lines to provide telephone communication.

“We also talked about making sure we’ve been practicing our drills, ALICE training, making sure our plans are updated,” she added.

Several county school districts either already have or are in the process of creating secured entryways, which funnel visitors through the building’s office before they have access to the hallways and other areas of the school. Blue Ridge has that kind of setup at Schneider Elementary in Farmer City and at it’s Mansfield-based Blue Ridge Intermediate and Junior High School, while Bement will install secured entryways at both the high school and elementary school entrances this summer.

Cerro Gordo will do the same when construction begins on its $8 million renovation this summer, and Monticello would include it in its high school remodel if approved by voters March 20.

Geary said there are no plans at this time to remodel DeLand-Weldon to include the office-first option, but said “it might be something we look at. Obviously safety is one of our number one concerns.”

Bus lease
The school board renewed its bus lease with Midwest Bus for one year that will include a 36 percent increase in interest rates on the five buses it will lease. Geary said the main reason for the increase is a higher rate the company says is being brought on by tax reform.

She said the district transportation fund is healthy enough to absorb the increase.

In other discussion, the board:
–was told the annual staff recognition breakfast is being planned for the last school day of the year. Milestones and awards are recognized at the annual event;

–has been asked if a memorial flag honoring D-W graduate Brian Perkins could be put up in the high school lobby. No action was taken but it will be considered at the March board meeting. Perkins died at the age of 48 on Jan. 9 of this year. We was a class president at D-W in 1987;

–approved a facility rental policy. Those wishing to rent the gymnasium will pay a $225 deposit, $50 per day and custodial fees; and

–was told the board will meet at 5 p.m. March 20 prior to the regular board meeting to hold a vision and writing session for a strategic plan update.

– discussed administrative contracts, with action expected at next month’s session.

Categories (2):News, Education


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