Board approves security system for schools

Mike Linn

School officials believe a security system for all public schools will be in place by the beginning of next school year.
The Portales School Board accepted a security evaluation summary by Energy Control Inc. (ECI), a Rio Rancho-based company, pending approval from the state of New Mexico.
The $115,000 project will cost Portales Municipal Schools just $10,000, as the state Legislature appropriated the remaining funds during the 2003 session.
Murphy Quick, Portales Schools finance director, said the system is necessary to provide safety to students and teachers. He said roughly $50,000 lost to vandalism over the past several years was also a factor.
“We’re charged with the safety of students and staff. This will improve that safety feature,” Quick said.
ECI officials have completed more than $50 million in automation and security system projects throughout the state, according to an executive summary letter from ECI President Jack McGowen.
The security system will include Web-based video surveillance with storage, audio systems and central monitoring.
Cameras will be strategically placed at areas on each school’s campus.
At Portales High School, for example, ECI officials are proposing the use of seven cameras on campus; at Portales Junior High School they’re proposing four.

Also at the meeting:
l The school board approved the following titles for school board members: Inez Rodriguez will serve as president, Steve Davis will serve as vice president and Rod Savage as secretary.
l Steiner Elementary Principal Rick Segovia said he sent an application by the March 1 deadline seeking state approval for a dual-language program.
Segovia said he would like to begin the six-year program next fall beginning with kindergartners at L.L. Brown Grade School.
There are 108 students participating in the school district’s bilingual program, which was incorporated to help Spanish-speaking students learn English. The dual-language program will offer the same guidance to Spanish-speaking students but also allow English-speaking students to learn Spanish.
If approved, parents can sign their children up for the program beginning next year at Brown. The students will learn 10 percent of the day in a second language, either English or Spanish. The remainder of the school day will be taught in their language of choice.
The split will be increased to 80/20 the following year in first grade. The split will increase by 10 percent each year until the students receive 50 percent of their classes in English and 50 percent in Spanish during their fourth- and fifth-grade years at Valencia Elementary, Segovia said in February.