Glass replacement at Parliament Place Elementary School needed after a person shattered 49 windows with a pellet gun last weekend have come with an $18,000 price tag, school officials said Thursday at a Board of Education Meeting.
In addition to stepping up its weekend security, Superintendent Patricia Godek asked the board to seriously consider installing securing camera around the perimeter of the building.
After surveying the property, officials said 11 security cameras, placed around the buildings sides and back would sufficiently cover the grounds, including the backfield near the Pathmark shopping center. The added surveillance would come at a cost of $41,000, which includes an additional server, illuminators and cabling. The server is necessary since the district’s three current devices are full. Adding the server would also allow for the district to outfit the Belmont school with cameras, as incidents of concern have been reported there, as well.
Each camera, including cabling, comes at a cost of about $1,500.
The cameras would cover the back of the school, basketball courts, both playgrounds and the entire backfield next to Pathmark and Party City.
Dan Rose, director of student data services, said that one of the potential issues with the cameras would be lack of lighting at night. Since the school district is located within a residential area, floodlights could cause a disturbance to surrounding neighbors, Godek said. However, illuminators would pick up on activity on the school property, as well as some facial recognition at night, without disturbing residents in the area, Rose said.
Parliament Place once had security cameras installed, but the cameras have not been in operation for at least five years and the video quality was so poor that little activity could actually be captured, Godek said.
The superintendent said that since there were no witnesses and the vandalization was not caught on tape, there is no way for the school district to determine who was behind the act. All that was found was the shattered windows and CO2 catriges from a pellet gun.
“I certainly don’t want this to happen again. With the cameras there and being able to identify someone and pursue them, will be helpful.”
She also said that the cameras would send a message to future vandals.
“I’m hoping that the cameras themselves will be a deterrent to some of the activities that are currently happening back there.”
In September, parents raised concerns with police about hazards on the fields and basketball court of the elementary school. Police later made the school an SCPD patrol check point.
The money for the cameras would either come out of the district’s Excel funds or technology budget, Salvatore Carambia, assistant superintendent for business, said.
Godek asked the board to move on the security issue quickly, as long as the funds are available.
“I think this is the first step in providing he kind of security we need,” she said.
The board said it will make its decision on whether it can afford to install the cameras at its planning session on Jan. 7.