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Ludlow School District is First in State with this Security Plan

Ludlow Independent Schools will have increased security in the upcoming academic year.

The board of education elected to sign with Navigate, a technology-based program widely used in other states that allows school administrators to access pictures of each classroom and other rooms in case of an emergency.

The tool would also be useful for police.

"Basically, this puts all emergency plans on one platform," said Superintendent Michael Borchers at Thursday's board of education meeting. "Because we are the first district in this state to sign up for this, we will get a discount, and the money comes out of the Safe Schools money."

Every floor plan for the district is programmed into the computer, and when a floor plan is pulled up, it shows where every fire extinguisher is located, and where every defibrillator is. Additionally, every room has 360-degree vision, where first responders can see every nook and cranny. If an incident occurs, police can tap into the school cameras.   

Every door has its own picture, so that first responders can become familiar with entrance and exit possibilities.

"Usually, every summer we must spend at least 1,000 man hours coming up with these plans and putting them into the computer," said Borchers. "This program does the whole thing. What is more, all of our teachers can pull the program up on their phones, and so can the police department, and the fire department."

Only those who have been invited to view the details of the plan will be able to see. Administrators typically ask their own local fire and police departments to become familiar with the details, but they can also ask police and fire from surrounding cities.

Many drills are required every year at the schools, and this program keeps track of when the drills are, as well as the paperwork that is required afterwards.

"This is unique that we will be the first district in the state of Kentucky to have this program," said Borchers.  "(Mary Goetz Elementary principal) Jason Steffen and (facilities director) Randy Wofford are in charge of getting the system up and running. We will keep adding to it. The police chief and the fire chief are excited about this, too."

Other notes:

The issue of Riverfront Commons as it runs through Ludlow was bought up by board president Steve Chapman, who expressed concern that the multi-purpose trail won't run behind Ludlow Stadium. He said that he had spoken with Mayor Ken Wynn and Jack Moreland, president of Southbank Partners, the organization overseeing implementation of the 11-mile riverfront trail that connects Ludlow, Covington, Newport, Bellevue, Dayton, and Ft. Thomas.

"Our lawyer told us we could not give away ownership of school property," said Superintendent Borchers, explaining why the district-owned land behind the stadium was not in the plans for the trail. "We have to have fair market value and they wanted a 99-year lease. Jack Moreland, president of Southbank, used to be a superintendent, and I told him I didn't think he would give away ownership either."

(Moreland was superintendent in Dayton and Covington.)

Chapman said he would like to revisit the situation, and schedule a meeting with Moreland and others, to "exhaust all opportunities".  Borchers agreed, and said he would meet with them.

The board adopted some policy changes, which include ensuring that seniors must pass a civics test before graduation, and teachers and administers must be watchful for signs of domestic abuse.
Written by Patricia A. Scheyer, RCN contributor