January 19, 2020

WBRC school board votes for security upgrades

Approve first reading of emergency operations plan


WEST BRANCH — The West Branch Rose City School Board approved the purchase of 3M safety film for windows in district school buildings and camera upgrades for 12 buses, as well as voted to approve the first reading of the district’s emergency operations plan, during its Monday, Nov. 19 regular meeting.

The 3M safety film is a clear covering for windows that makes breaking of glass in the event of a natural disaster, active shooter or break-in more difficult. The board unanimously approved the purchase of $38,759 from the general fund to cover materials and installation of the film on the glass on interior classroom doors, exterior doors and windows for each of the buildings in the district.

Superintendent Phil Mikulski said during the meeting that while some of the windows in district buildings have steel mesh as a safety measure, those types of windows are no longer up to code.

“If it breaks, we’ll have to replace it with tempered glass, which means it can shatter pretty easily,” Mikulski said. “The film that goes over it will keep it in place, which buys you minutes of time for someone to get through it. It is just another level of security for staff and students.”

Mikulski said the film is already in place at the main office entrances upgraded this past summer at each of the district’s schools.

The school board also voted unanimously to approve the purchase of 12-channel camera systems for 12 of the district’s school buses at a cost of $23,780.

WBRC School Board Treasurer Scott Kartes inquired during discussion as to why the district was purchasing 12-channel camera systems for buses that are only utilizing four to six cameras. WBRC Transportation Supervisor Jason Hall said the 12-channel system allows for improved remote access of bus audio and also allows for the option to add exterior or dash cameras in the future. He said the difference between the 6- and 12-channel system was approximately $173.

Mikulski said the camera upgrades are replacing the district’s oldest camera systems. He said many of the camera systems on district buses are still in good condition because the buses themselves are not that old.

The board also unanimously approved a district-wide emergency operations plan as a first reading. Mikulski said that while the district had an emergency plan in place for the high school last year, recent state legislation requires all schools to have a plan by the beginning of January 2020.

“We’ll do a second reading in December so that we have it official by January,” Mikulski said. “By law we have to have this in place before Jan. 1, and this will also continue to keep us eligible to participate in the State Police safety grant process. Some of these (policies) are district-wide, and then the principals have their building-specific plans to tie in as well.”

Mikulski said the current version of the emergency management plan is a result of working with Critical Incident Management, Inc., which was contracted by the school in September. He said the plan has been reviewed by local law enforcement and Ogemaw County Emergency Management Coordinator Michael Bower.

Mikulski said once the emergency operations plan is approved, the school district will review it annually, hold staff trainings and receive assistance with implementation from CIM per their contract.


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