SANBORN, NY - A local school district is looking to make major security upgrades to its schools district-wide.
The Niagara Wheatfield School District wants to spend two million dollars on technology such as video surveillance and a lockdown system.
The Niagara Wheatfield School District says it wants to stay proactive in these changing times of more security, especially in schools. And, the district is looking to take advantage of a pot of state funds that a lot of local districts in WNY have their hand in.
REPORTER: Is there any issue with the security at this district?
"No, there is no issue, but rather this is an excellent opportunity to upgrade to the latest security features," said Jeffery Hazel, the director of instructional technology at Niagara Wheatfield.
Niagara Wheatfield Schools is looking to tap into the state's Smart Schools spending program, to update the district's security capabilities.
"The new technology that is out there would interconnect various aspects of these high-tech security systems and that's a good thing," Hazel said.
The state's $2 billion Smart Schools program was approved through the budget several years ago, and allows districts to apply for funds to make upgrades in very specific areas, including classroom technology; high speed internet; adding classroom space; and installing high-tech security upgrades.
Niagara Wheatfield has been approved to receive $2.7 million dollars through the program. The district proposes to spend $210,000 on an automated lockdown system; $833,000 on video surveillance and $333,000 on PA systems.
"You'd be able to punch a button, as you say, and lock exterior doors and lock interior doors," Hazel said.
Plus, there would be new, higher resolution surveillance cameras at five out of six buildings in the district. Other school systems in WNY are getting big bucks through the Smart Schools program -- Akron has been awarded $252,000 for classroom technology; Depew -- $1.3 million to improve school connectivity; and Ellicottville Schools $113,000 for security upgrades. Buffalo Schools is proposing to use $24 million on classroom technology. Funding is based on a formula that the state education department uses.
Niagara Wheatfield's proposed plan will be the focus of a public hearing Wednesday night at Niagara Wheatfield High. The hearing starts at 7 p.m. The district will take all of the comments and submit a plan to the state to get the funding. The district hopes to receive the funding by next summer.