Voters will be asked to approve two proposals – a $28.28 million bond and a 5-year, 0.75-mill sinking fund – on the November ballot, both of which would be used to fund a variety of capital improvement projects throughout the Oxford school district.
Should the proposals be approved, officials are looking to invest a total of $30.4 million into transportation, building systems, site improvements, roofing, technology infrastructure, security cameras/access and playgrounds throughout the district.
The Oxford Leader
will take an in-depth look at the projects which have been proposed within each of these categories by district officials. In this issue, the Leader will explore Oxford Schools’ proposed updates to security.
Officials are hoping to spend up to $150,000 over time on security improvements across the district.
According to Superintendent Tim Throne, the district’s last major security “revamp” took place in 2013, when $21,400 was spent from the district’s community service fund to secure the entry-points at Oxford Early Learning Center.
In addition, Throne said district officials also spent around $400,000 collectively towards the purchase of video cameras and handheld radios using proceeds of a 2009 bond, which was approved.
Since 2014, the district has spent around $23,000 on various security-related updates, which included the installation of cameras and access controls throughout the district.
In 2016, approximately $12,000 was spent from the district’s operating fund towards cameras and access improvements, primarily at Oxford Virtual Academy’s elementary learning center, which opened last October, and at Clear Lake Elementary.
Despite these purchases, Assistant Superintendent of Business and Operations Sam Barna said the district has not been able to fulfill all of its security coverage needs from the operating budget alone.
Barna estimates the district would need to purchase around 90 replacement/additional cameras, along with necessary video storage systems, to be installed throughout the schools.
He added that most of the cameras purchased would be additional, rather than replacement ones, to help cover existing blind spots throughout the district’s schools.
“We have areas that are currently not covered, both inside and outside of the schools. The camera additions would help our building administrators to have a stronger grasp on security issues that could arise at the interior and exterior of the buildings. There are many corridors and many areas exterior-wise that aren’t on video camera. These updates are important from a safety and security perspective,” said Barna.
Barna noted that these security updates would also include the addition of at least three secure access doors to secure the main entrances of some of the district’s schools which are currently without.
Throne added that safety and security are always at the forefront of his mind, and that many of the district’s proposed projects aim to improve both.
“While only $150,000 is specifically spelled out in the sinking fund for ‘security,’ that doesn’t mean that out of the entire bond and sinking fund we’re only spending $150,000 (to improve) safety and security,” said Throne. “Buses, playgrounds, replacing unlevel sidewalks… all of those tie in with safety.”
Each of these security projects would be purchased by revenue which would be generated by the sinking funds proposal, if approved.