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Night security, cameras on buses win school board approval

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Video cameras are headed to some Richmond County school buses, and safety officers will be overseeing the county's schools at night.

Both measures were among several approved unanimously by the county school board Tuesday night.

On the bus cameras, the board agreed to a total allocation of $40,000, with a per bus cost of $1,412. That would outfit 28 buses with two cameras each, which would provide school officials with video and audio proof when accusations of wrongdoing are lodged against students or drivers.

School system Controller Gene Spires told the board that it would have cost about $141,000 to install cameras in all buses, "which we don't have right now."

Facilities Director Benton Starks has said the cameras will be placed on buses before the end of this school year. The cameras will provide GPS monitoring to show where an incident happened.

On night patrols, the board gave final approval to a proposal to hire two safety officers at an initial cost of $137,000, to include salary, benefits, uniforms and vehicles. The uniform and vehicle costs won't occur each year, so the annual expense would be $81,000.

Several break-ins, vandalism incidents and thefts have occurred recently at schools at night, and night patrols will start this summer.

In other action

Board members also:

- Agreed to have no more furlough days for the rest of this school year. Officials have said they can forgo the furloughs because of energy conservation measures and greater-than-anticipated property tax revenue.

- Agreed to apply for federal money to reform Glenn Hills, Josey and Laney high schools, which were in the lowest 5 percent statewide in student achievement the past two years. The grant could provide between $50,000 and $2 million for each school over three years, to be used for professional development and financial incentives for workers should they meet certain expectations. Laney would undergo the biggest reform, with half of its current staff changed for next school year. Those not kept at Laney would go to other schools.

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ZenoElia
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ZenoElia 04/21/10 - 05:19 am
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Finally something sensible to

Finally something sensible to counter problems w school damages..good job.

isaidit
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isaidit 04/21/10 - 08:08 am
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I have a friend that drives a

I have a friend that drives a RC school bus, and through our conversations, I can say with certainty, this is one of the more challenging occupations in the school system "hands down"! To be held responsible for a bus load of disrespectful, unruly (mostly) teens, who's "word" is given more creadability than the drivers, is NOT a job you wake up early, smiling with anticapation to get started on. Some actually dread what their day will, and normally, consist of. This decision to put cameras on all buses will hopefully give them the back up they have long needed to help control the bad behavior they deal with daily. Frightening to think the driver your precious child is entrusted to, to safely shuttle him/her to and from school is operating under extreme frustration and helplessness. Good decision for drivers and students alike.

Ayetidiosi
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Ayetidiosi 04/21/10 - 08:11 am
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$700+ per camera? Aye can do

$700+ per camera? Aye can do better than that. Put this out for bids.

Ayetidiosi
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Ayetidiosi 04/21/10 - 08:13 am
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Officials have said they can

Officials have said they can forgo the furloughs because of energy conservation measures
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So to all those who whined, moaned, and complained because their coffee makers, microwaves, and space heaters were yanked, congratulations, you just got one or two days pay restored.

We won't hold our breath waiting for y'all to fess up and thank the BOE for being quite a bit smarter than you. But you should.

AugustaVoter
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AugustaVoter 04/21/10 - 09:16 am
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Ayetidiosi, some of the

Ayetidiosi, some of the "conservation" measure included the furloughs. Since schools were closed much less energy was being used for projectors, computers, lights, etc. They saved approx. $1 mil per day of furloughs in energy and salary. So in reality you are not correct. Dr. Bedden estimated about $9000 per YEAR was being wasted on those coffee pots, fridges and heaters. I don't see where this saved anyone a day of pay.

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