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Highlands prepares to switch security firms

| Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2014, 1:06 a.m.

By this time next week, Highlands School District likely will have a new company providing security at its facilities.

On Monday, the school board agreed to consider hiring Capital Asset Protection Inc. to provide security for the middle school and high school.

Currently, the district employs Pond Security. Board president Carrie Fox said that the company notified the district that it would not bid to renew its contract because of a merger with another security company. But she indicated that there was some dissatisfaction with Pond by the district.

“It's a two-way street,” she said.Pond's contract was renewed last August for the 2013-14 school year, with Highlands agreeing to pay Pond guards $13.90 per hour. It was the same rate paid by the district in 2012-13.

The rate that Capital Asset guards would be paid is $14.28 per hour.

“It's a slight upgrade in what we're paying to Pond, but it is a huge upgrade in the quality of service we would be receiving from Capital Asset Protection,” Superintendent Michael Bjalobok said.

An attempt to reach Pond Security for comment after the meeting late Monday was unsuccessful.

Fox said the number of hours in the contract is 85 per week, the same amount that Pond had.

“Their contract is pretty much the same,” Fox said. “It's a three-year contract, but we can get out of it with 30 days notice.”

Jay Morgan, Highlands director of security, said Capital Asset provides security for four districts in the area, including Franklin Regional and Shaler, some of which use metal detectors as Highlands does.

He said that the company has a good record when it comes to keeping employees.

“Retention at their facilities is about five years,” Morgan said. “A guard at Shaler, for example, has been there for about five years, while we might have a guard here for about six months.”He said that Capital emphasizes training updates but training was something that diminished over time with Pond.“I recommend Capital Asset,” Morgan said. Board member Laura Thimons asked why Capital Asset was advertising to fill positions at Highlands when the board had not voted on hiring it.

“I would assume they are doing that in anticipation of being hired,” Bjalobok said.

Tom Yerace is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4675 or tyerace@tribweb.com.

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