Van-Far continues student safety talks
The Van-Far R-I School District Board of Education continued talk on buffered student safety during a brief Saturday, February 23, meeting.
Having rescheduled its regular February 21 meeting due to inclement weather, the board reviewed two of four total quotes for updates to the district’s main exterior doors at the elementary and high school buildings.
“The two companies bid on virtually the same product,” Van-Far Superintendent Chris Felmlee said. “The only difference was the locking mechanism.”
The quotes were from Stanley and Security Solutions.
For the high school, both vendors offered an “Aiphone” intercom system, which included a panning camera and buzzer, for entry at the superintendent’s door, which is currently the only unlocked entry point into the high school.
Interior authorization points allowing entry to the building with the update would be at the superintendent’s office with three additional interior authorization stations. For this system, Stanley bid $5,823.68 or $8,298.68 with an optional 60-month warranty.
Security Solutions set its cost at $3,339.10 with no warranty option.
For two of the intercom systems at the high school, at the superintendent’s door and a gym door with three interior authorization stations, Stanley bid $6,079.84, or $7,109.39 with the optional warranty.
Security Solutions estimated its cost for a two-door system for the high school at $4,050.60, again with no warranty.
At the elementary school, an intercom system for the main doors, at present the only unlocked doors of the building, and three interior authorization stations from Stanley cost $4,988.39, or $7,109.39 with Stanley’s warranty. Security Solutions bid $3,339.10, which included an additional authorization point at the superintendent’s office.
Overall, Stanley bid $10,812.07 for updates to one door at each building. This cost raised to $15,408.07 with Stanley’s 60-month service warranty.
For updating two doors at the high school and one door at the elementary building, Stanley bid at $11,068.23 or $16,933.23 with its warranty.
If the district chose Security Solutions, updates covering one entry at each building would cost $6,678.20, a difference of $4,133.87. However, the option would lack a warranty.
For updates at two doors of both the high school and one elementary door, Security Solutions’ updates would cost $7,389.70, a difference of $3,678.30 with a lack of a warranty.
Security update discussion
Although both Stanley and Security Solutions offered about the same product, Superintendent Felmlee said the difference between the vendors is the locking mechanism each specialist would use. The difference caused some concern for the integrity of updates to the elementary school’s main doors.
He said Stanley would use an internal locking device, within the crash bar of a door.
Superintendent Felmlee said Security Solutions, on the other hand, would use an external system staggering the middle section of the door frame.
He said this external system on the elementary building’s aluminum door frames may lack in structural integrity. The issue would be alleviated with steel door frames as found at the high school.
Felmlee said additional study of the issue would be needed to determine whether replacing the doors would be the best option to alleviate integrity concerns.
“I would rather do it right from the get go,” Felmlee said.
Aside from possibly replacing the doors, Board Member Greg Frost recommended limiting upgrades to one door at each building, noting less entry points begets less chances for intrusion.
With abduction concerns for the preschool students, Board Member Charles Scrogin called for the two-door buzzer system option at the elementary school to include the preschool building. Board member Pete Nasir commented that if preschool students were already outside, when abductions would be more likely to occur, an additional buzzer system limiting entry at the preschool building may be unnecessary.
Scrogin also noted the ease at which an intruder could break the glass doors within the district to gain entry. Nasir agreed with Scrogin recommending the doors be replaced with a solid material.
The district received a complaint from Missouri Protection and Advocacy Services regarding Van-Far’s Individualized Education Program and parents within the program. Parents asked that Van-Far reimburse them for IEP transportation cost in advance.
Superintendent Felmlee said advance reimbursement is not something the district had done in the past. Board Member Christy Nelson questioned advanced payment in cases where the student had not shown to school, noting the potential for abuse of the possible agreement to pay in advance, and recommended, as did Scrogin, the district sticks to its present plan.
The board received its first reading of Missouri School Board Association’s policy updates.
The board voted unanimously approved the following:
• Authorization of user for district’s bank card, 5-0
• A one-year contract extension with OPAA Foods, 4-0 with Frost’s abstention for conflict of interest as an OPAA representative
• A one-year special education contract for a visually impaired student
Superintendent Felmlee reported that district-wide enrollment for January was 600 with 353 students in grades K-6 and 247 students compiling grades 7-12.
Nasir recommended residents contact their local legislator regarding school lunches and keeping the federal government “out of Van-Far’s kitchen.”