McIntyre proposes security review plan for Knox schools

8:09 PM, Feb 18, 2013   |    comments
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A proposal for a review of security systems across all Knox County Schools is front and center at Monday night's Board of Education work session. This comes a couple of weeks after 10News learned of a lawsuit between the public building authority and a former contractor over security deficiencies in two schools.

The BOE asked Superintendent Dr. Jim McIntyre to develop a security review plan at its regular meeting in early February.

In a memo to the board, Dr. McIntyre recommends testing all burglar alarms, video camera systems, and keyless entry systems at each of the district's 88 schools. New contractor SimplexGrinnell would inspect 27 schools before April 19, when TCAP testing starts.

"We are phasing out key pad systems in favor of proximity card reader systems," Dr. McIntyre explained.

Powell Middle School and Hardin Valley Academy would be in that initial group of schools, along with 25 others that would be chosen at random. The remaining 61 schools would be inspected during summer break. McIntyre wrote that the estimated cost to taxpayers is $48,000.

The full review is in response to an audit of security systems installed by Professional Security Consultants and Design at Powell Middle and Hardin Valley Academy. The lawsuit, which was filed by the Public Building Authority in March 2012, alleges that work done to install video monitoring and door access systems was deficient for a time. Those systems have since been repaired.

"You have to be careful about what the general public knows in terms of the specific strategies," Dr. McIntyre said.

Last week, 10News looked at reviews performed by Simplex Grinnell between March and September 2012 of burglar alarms at every school. The school district led us to believe that review also included door access and video surveillance systems. However, last Friday, the school district clarified that was not the case.

10News has submitted a request to look at previous video inspections, which the district's security office performs monthly. Inspections of fire protection systems are ongoing; those will also be shared with 10News in the near future.

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