By Jordyn Grzelewski
All seven Boardman schools will receive comprehensive security upgrades starting this fall, funded by a 1.6-mill permanent improvement, five-year replacement levy approved last year. The levy provides the school district with about $400,000 annually to spend on security and technology.
“Security is an issue in every school in the United States, and every building should be made more secure for employees and students,” said Superintendent Frank Lazzeri.
“If you’re not doing that, you’re not doing your job as a school administrator or a board member. That’s why we did the replacement levy.”
The security upgrades will include at least three phases, according to Tim Saxton, director of operations. Boardman High School, Boardman Center Middle School, Glenwood Middle School, Market Street Elementary, Robinwood Elementary, Stadium Drive Elementary and West Boulevard Elementary will all receive the same upgrades.
“The first phase is to get signage for all seven buildings pointing toward that [main] entrance,” Saxton said.
The second phase will be the installation of “Raptor,” a security system that requires visitors to swipe their driver’s license or state-issued identification card, and which runs a background check for crimes related to child-endangerment or sex offenses. The system will also print customized name tags for visitors, as well as respond to a custom alert if a specific person who has been banned from the building tries to enter.
The installation of improved signage and the Raptor systems in all of the schools will be completed by early fall.
According to Saxton, each Raptor system will cost about $1,700. However, the district received a grant from the Ohio School Facilities Commission that will cover about half the cost.
The district’s first collection on the replacement- levy funds will pay for the improved signage and Raptor security systems. The district collected about $240,000 this spring, about $180,000 of which will be put toward security measures. The additional $60,000 will be used to improve technology in the schools.
“The only money going to security is the additional money we got through the replacement,” Lazzeri said.
Funding for other security measures will come from the next collection the district makes on the replacement levy, sometime next year. With these funds, the district will be able to start construction of “man traps,” which are vestibules located between the outdoors and the interior of the building where a visitor must get approval from an administrator or security guard before proceeding into the building.
Saxton expects the major security upgrades to be completed within two years, with other improvements, such as replacing the schools’ outdated cameras, being made over the course of the next three to five years.