During a one-hour work session, board members also heard from the maintenance and operations director about what his department is doing to make the district’s 11 schools safer. Carbon monoxide detectors, keyless car entries, buzz-in systems and alert buttons are all part of the plan for increased safety and security.
Superintendent Emily Lembeck said she received a call from someone with the state education department Thursday asking if the district would be interested in extending its five-year charter system renewal application to 10 years.
The board approved and submitted its application to the state in October.
“(The state contact) said this is available in the law and that the other three districts (applying for charter system status) were going to extend theirs to 10,” said Lembeck, who recommended the 10-year renewal.
Lembeck said the state official asked that an answer be given after Friday’s meeting if the board wanted the district’s application to be considered at the February meeting of the State Board of Education.
To achieve this deadline, Lembeck said her district staff tweaked its five-year accountability goals to fit into a 10-year charter.
Vice Chair Tom Cheater asked Lembeck if the district was comfortable extending the charter to 10 years, and if they were concerned that it would either be “over-committing” or “locking” Marietta City Schools into an unachievable metric.
“Some of these are aggressive, but as a charter system, you’re supposed to show that you’re aggressive,” she explained. “They want us to be ambitious.”
$40,000 for CO detectors
The board also heard from operations director Danny Smith about the district’s desire to install carbon monoxide detectors, keyless card entry systems, buzz-in systems and a “general alert system” at certain schools.
One state legislator has filed a bill asking the General Assembly to approve the requirement that carbon monoxide detectors be installed at every public and private school in the state.
Smith said whether or not the bill passes, the district would like to install the equipment at a cost of approximately $40,000.
He said they’ll wait to see what action the state takes so the installation will be in line with any potential guidelines.
Smith said they are waiting to get a sign-off from Marietta High School on which doors should have keyless card access. This allows only approved personnel to enter certain doors on the campus using an ID card. It exists at every elementary and middle school now.
The use of a buzz-in system, which requires school visitors to press a button at the main entrance of a school in order to enter after school has started, will be piloted at Hickory Hills Elementary School and at the Performance Learning Center at Woods-Wilkins.
Smith said he is eager to see how it will work out and that they should be installed at these two schools in the next two weeks.
If things go as planned, they could install them at other Marietta City schools.
Smith said they are also looking to install a general alert system at each school.
This would be somewhat like a panic button that would alert local police to respond in case of an emergency.