La Cañada schools to get television monitoring

La Cañada district schools are getting ready for their close-ups. But instead of a Hollywood camera crew, officials hope to install a Closed Circuit television system during the summer months, a move they said would improve security at LCUSD's four campuses.

The district's Governing Board unanimously approved a policy allowing for the cameras June 22, paving the way to making it a reality.

"In cases where security needs warrant monitoring, La Cañada Unified School District may implement a close circuit television camera surveillance system at each facility throughout the district," the new policy states.

District surveillance would be used for:"the protection of district property and assets from theft and vandalism, protection of students and district personnel from harm, detection of criminal activity and identification of perpetrators."  

Officials are receiving and evaluating bids from different companies to see what kind of system they could use and how much it would cost them. The district is leaning towards a system that records throughout the day and night and produces tape to be reviewed later, instead of having someone monitor the footage 24 hours a day, Assistant Superintendent of Facilities and Operations Mike Leininger said.

The systems at the three elementary sites could cost as much as $30,000 per school, and $42,000 for La Canada High School. The final price will likely be less than that , Leininger said.

"We are looking for someone who will put the system in and not include ongoing maintenance in the contract," Leininger said. "We would maintain the system ourselves at the site, which would make the cost go down automatically."

The installation would be covered by a 2004 voter approved bond . The district could also qualify for grants.

Leininger said the district will apply for the grant by the end of June. 

"The grant won't cover the full extent of the costs but any funding these days is helpful," Leininger said.

Budgeting was the main topic of discussion at Tuesday's board meeting, as they unanimously approved the 2010-2011 budget .

The district still faces with difficult decisions . The summer school program is one of the proposed cuts for the 2011-12 and 2012-13 school years. This cut is expected to bring in a total $174,810 during the two years.

"The deficits aren't nearly as severe as we expected," Governing Board Member Cindy Wilcox said on June 1. "I want to thank the staff for being extra careful with every dollar because we need that money to carry us through the next few years."   

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