Board looks at list of potential security actions.
WAPELLO -- Hiring armed guards should be included on a list of potential security actions to investigate for cost and other implementation issues, the Wapello School Board agreed Wednesday.
Although not originally part of the list, which was developed following a series of security audits conducted by Louisa County Emergency Management Director Staci Griffin, the guard investigation was suggested by board Chairman Charles Kerr.
"Why don't we talk about hiring a guard in each building?" he said.
Griffin, who recently attended a training on school shooting incidents, said she supported that proposal.
"I would feel much safer if you had an armed guard," she said.
She said federal grant funding was not available to help finance school resource officers (SRO) but hinted that should not stop the school from investigating.
"My kids are more important," she said.
Other board members agreed.
"Probably (SROs) are the way to go," Duane Boysen said.
"(I suppose) we need to look at guards," Traci McCleary added.
Other actions on the list included locking doors into the school; providing radios to staff; enforcing stricter usage of security badges; increasing camera surveillance of parking lots; switching surveillance cameras to a web-based system; improving parking lot lighting; installing keyless entry systems; installing panic buttons in each building; reconfiguring entryways to incorporate a buzzer system; and installing warning signs alerting the public to the potential of vehicle searches, tow away zones and other possibilities.
Superintendent Mike Peterson also said his staff would begin updating the school crisis plan as part of the district's effort to improve school security.
"The plan is obsolete," he told the board, explaining the plan had not been practiced because it included actions no longer recommended.
Peterson indicated he might have some cost figures for the board by its next regular meeting.
In other action, the board approved a formal sharing proposal for the Morning Sun School Board. The proposal calls for the two boards to jointly develop a plan that would maintain an attendance center in both Wapello and Morning Sun for an agreed number of years or until enrollment reached a certain number. The proposal also included a provision the current sharing agreement Morning Sun has with the Wapello, Mediapolis and Winfield-Mount Union school districts would end if the two districts approved a new plan between themselves.
Board member Rob Pritchard was the lone vote against the proposal, explaining he believed Morning Sun didn't want anything to do with Wapello.
Kerr acknowledged that might be the situation, but he wanted to make the effort and hoped Morning Sun community members would help launch a discussion on the proposal.
There was no deadline on a response.
The board also:
• Reviewed updated design plans for a new weight room;
• Approved a $25,000 contract with Barnes PRCA Rodeo of Cherokee for the 2013 Wapello FFA PRCA Rodeo, July 19 and 20.
• Approved a resolution on a 4-1 vote supporting a 4 percent allowable growth in state aid. Kerr voted against the proposal.
• Approved a 10-cent across-the-board hike in the cost for lunch to comply with federal regulations. With the increase, adult lunches will be $3.10; middle school and high school lunches, $2.15; and elementary lunches, $1.90.
• The board also agreed to hold a special budget work session Feb. 26.
• Held a closed meeting for contract negotiations.
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