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Greensburg Salem to put hold on security changes

| Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014, 7:47 a.m.

Greensburg Salem school directors on Wednesday nixed making immediate widespread security changes at two schools but agreed to look at installing four safety measures soon at the middle school.

Most directors indicated they first want to have state police do a building vulnerability assessment of schools before buying approximately 70 cameras for the middle school and Metzgar Elementary School.

“Once they do the study, they may recommend changes,” Director Lee Kunkle said.

Superintendent Eileen Amato said she has been trying to get state police to do the building vulnerability assessment.

“We're on the waiting list,” she said. “We were one of the first to get on the list, but they're very understaffed.”

Amato said she has been told the analysis will be done before the end of the school year.

Chris Suppo, coordinator of technology, transportation and community relations, told directors he had a proposal from an area security firm to install 24 cameras at Metzgar and 46 cameras at the middle school.

The cost to have the cameras at the two schools would be about $65,000, Suppo said. The involved company, Rampart Security Systems, is on the state COSTARS list, so the work would not have to be put out for bid, Suppo said.

“It's a lot of money,” Director Dr. Richard Payha said.

Directors asked Suppo to put together estimates to install proximity card readers at two doors at the middle school and for two new cameras to be put in the building.

Suppo anticipated he would have the estimates for the readers and two cameras in time for the board's meeting next Wednesday.

With the readers, people must use pass-through cards to gain entry.

Directors have shelled out about $38,000 to install new cameras at the high school, based on the discussion.

Ashley Nestor, coordinator of elementary education, said she has received a letter from the Westmoreland County Bureau of Elections stating Metzgar no longer will be used as a polling place.

Some parents have expressed concerns to directors about adults roaming halls in the school on election days.

In another matter, district officials hope to resolve contract issues soon so that background checks can be done on new volunteers.

Solicitor John Scales had concerns about some language in a contract for National Center for Safety Initiatives to do the checks at a cost of $26.25 per volunteer.

Scales said he planned to talk to officials further to try to resolve those issues.

Bob Stiles is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-6622 or bstiles@tribweb.com.

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