By AUTUMN HUGHES
Funding for a proposed safety plan for Bradley County Schools is on its way to the Bradley County Commission’s Finance Committee for review. The plan, presented by Scotty Hernandez, safety and security specialist for both Bradley County Schools and Cleveland City Schools, includes a variety of measures to make schools safer.
Funding for a proposed safety plan for Bradley County Schools is on its way to the Bradley County Commission’s Finance Committee for review.
The plan, presented by Scotty Hernandez, safety and security specialist for both Bradley County and Cleveland City Schools, includes a variety of measures to make schools safer.
The proposed plan, which costs more than $576,000, was forwarded for additional review following Monday’s meeting of the Bradley County Commission’s Education Committee.
At the beginning of the meeting, Education Committee Chairman Thomas Crye said he wanted to make clear “it is not an attempt to ‘micromanage’ the operation of the school system, but an attempt to ensure we are proactive rather than reactive in light of recent public school shootings, and [that] the public is aware that our school system and county government are being proactive. It is also intended to ensure appropriate improvements are recognized, funded and implemented.”
Crye added it “should be remembered it is the function of the county commission to provide funding to county departments. It is critical that we address, provide and implement the security of Bradley County Schools system’s most precious asset … our children and future leaders.”
The plan, as outlined by Hernandez, is not “one magic answer” but several layers of planning and protection. The $576,637 in recommendations discussed by the committee and sent on to the Finance Committee are:
• Surveillance system upgrades: $268,407.88;
• Classroom door locks: $95,000;
• Armed security (approximately): $32,500;
• Social media (Social Sentinel program): $18,000;
• Stop!t (anonymous tip line): $6,825;
• 3M glass laminate materials: $75,905:
• 800mhz radios: $10,000;
• Equipment maintenance: $60,000; and
• Employee training: $10,000.
Bradley County Schools Director Dr. Linda Cash said she met with Sheriff Eric Watson and the BCSO will be placing armed deputies at the entrance to both Bradley Central High School and Walker Valley High School.
“We’re hoping to put these in place after spring break,” Cash said, adding that funding will be part of the next fiscal year’s budget request.
Cash also said the Stop!t program will be put in place during the current school year, paid by grant money, but it will become a recurring cost.
Committee member Milan Blake asked Cash if she had heard back from the state of Tennessee about additional funding for school security measures. Cash said she has not, “but it is on their radar.”
Crye thanked Hernandez for his presentation, saying, “I think it will show our system is better secured than what the perception is in the public.”
The committee also approved a motion to ask the city of Cleveland to work with Bradley County on a uniform school security plan.
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