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Ludlow Schools Will Boost Security with New Key System

Ludlow Independent Schools made a decision this month to re-key the locks on five doors over the Presidents' Day holiday weekend in February. The deterioration of part of the existing keys to the doors made the decision necessary, and in the spirit of school security, the Board of Education decided to re-key the doors with cards that will double as district identification.

"We have a small school district where we know all our teachers, but if we had a situation where first responders came in, they wouldn't know us from Adam," said Superintendent Michael Borchers. "All of us will have picture IDs on a lanyard worn around our necks that will double as keys to the doors. We have a program where we will know who goes into what door because of these new locks."

The program will re-key five doors over the holiday, and by the time summer comes around, all the doors in every building in the district will operate on the new locks. Several school districts have gone to the new security system of card digital locks, and Borchers said it deals with two problems in one: that of identification cards and that of secure doors. There are cameras in the buildings, but this is a different way to insure security. If a card is lost, that card is deactivated, whereas if a key is lost, it could fall into the wrong hands.  

The cost of the program is $18,000.

"It is a more efficient way to do things," said Borchers. "Wearing IDs is a change for a lot of us, but it is something we can get used to."

In other business, the board agreed to design development documents for the heating and air conditioning project at Mary A. Goetz Elementary, which should take place over the summer. The new system will hook into the existing system in the high school building. Once the board OKs the \documents, the state approves the project and then the project can go out to bid.  

The board also approved an offer of assistance from the state School Facilities and Construction Commission Biennial, for the amount of $21,261. The board will put the money in an escrow account for their building fund so that it can be counted in their favor for bonding potential as of July 1.

Borchers asked the board to approve a calendar for the 2016-2017 school year. The year starts on August 22, a week later than usual to make sure the HVAC project is completed in the elementary school, and squeezes some of the vacation times to ensure that the school year ends on June 1. The board approved the calendar.

The preliminary budget was presented to the board and approved but it is the first of many drafts to come.

The board approved an extension of the superintendent's contract by a year so that the contract will extend until 2020.

Borchers showed the board a proclamation in honor of national school board month, and he told the board that he appreciated each and every one of them for the support they have given him in the five years they have worked together.

"The stadium renovation, the preschool for all four year olds, the full day kindergarten, the Gateway project, the cafeteria breakfast, lunch and after-school program, the new wireless system and all the staff support, these are a few of the accomplishments that I wanted to point out that we have done with your support," he told them. "We are a high growth school and we have achieved it with the support of the five of you."

Written by Patricia A. Scheyer