Highlands School District nixes new security agreement approved by school board
The Highlands School District will not be going forward with hiring a new security firm as the school board had approved on Monday, a district spokeswoman said Wednesday.
The school board approved a contract between the district and Olympia Security Group, of Chartiers Township, Washington County, after voting to terminate a contract with Gentile & Associates, of Center Township, Beaver County.
The district had entered a one-year contract for districtwide security with Gentile & Associates last June.
The contract with Gentile will end March 15; the new agreement with Olympia was to start March 18.
District spokeswoman Jennifer Goldberg said she was informed Wednesday morning that the district will not be using Olympia as its new security firm.
“The district will continue the search for a new security firm,” she said. “The reasons were not specified, and I have no additional information about it.”
School board President Debbie Beale could not immediately be reached.
A representative of Gentile & Associates did not return a request for comment. Olympia Security could not immediately be reached for comment.
In addition to contracted security, the district has two of its own school police officers, Joseph Naviglia Jr. and Jeffrey Sheldon, who are district employees.
In response to a question from a resident at the school board meeting about the reason for the change, substitute Superintendent Monique Mawhinney said she believes it’s time for the district to change security companies.
As originally approved by the school board, Olympia was to provide unarmed security. According to the agreement, costs were $18 per hour for security officers and $19 per hour for supervisor security officers. Overtime rates were $24 and $25, respectively.
Mawhinney said Olympia’s overtime and supervisor rates were lower than those charged by Gentile, while the other charges were 50 cents per hour higher.
Mawhinney said the district was hoping to get better security services from the new firm.
Brian C. Rittmeyer is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Brian at 724-226-4701, firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter .