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Rockwood School District wants to spend $5 million for safety upgrades

6:25 PM, Jan 28, 2013   |    comments
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By Sharon Stevens Education Reporter

ST. LOUIS COUNTY (KSDK) - A local school district is hoping to spend $5 million to make its schools safer, and many of the improvements are tied to the passage of a bond issue.

The $38.4 million bond issue will be on the ballot in April. If approved, Rockwood School District officials want nearly $5 million to be used to add police officers and cameras.

LaSalle Springs Middle School has 35 cameras, the most of any middle school in the Rockwood district.

Since the school shootings in Connecticut, many school districts have been implementing new safety measures, especially in the elementary schools.

In Rockwood, St. Louis County's largest school district, all of the middle and high schools have cameras and school resource officers such as Dan Smythe.

"This is actually one of our pan, tilt, zoom cameras and it's actually covering the track and the fields that the P.E. students might use," said Officer Smythe.

A few years ago, Rockwood installed an intruder alert system in every classroom, and all a teacher has to do is pick up the phone, and help will be on the way soon.

Rockwood officials do not favor arming employees as some officials have suggested, but they do want additional safety measures.

If the bond issue passes in April, the district would like to add 10 to 20 resource officers. The cost could be as much as $1 million.

They are also looking at other safety upgrades.

"We're also talking about doing some things with our phone system: adding a generator as a back-up. In case something goes wrong with our phones, we have the ability to take care of those phone calls," said Rockwood spokesperson Kim Cranston.

A group called Rockwood Stakeholders opposes the plan, saying it's too vague saying Rockwood should not be hiring security officers.

The district has 30 buildings and is spread out over 150 square miles.



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