Portland Public Schools will install new security video systems to improve safety for students and staff at every PPS elementary, K-8, and middle school. The project involves installing video recorders in school entrances and equipping selected locked doors with electronic card readers that allow staff to enter during prescribed hours. School visitors are expected to enter through the front doors, which are not locked.
“By installing security cameras and upgrading our security systems, we’re investing in another level of security to keep our students and staff safe,” said Superintendent Carole Smith. "We’re glad to add these measures to such existing practices as requiring all visitors to check in at the office, background checks for all volunteers, and drills during which our students prepare for emergencies ."
The new cameras will be placed at school entrances, and will document everyone who enters through the front door. Images from the camera appear in school offices on new monitors that allow staff to see who enters the building. The new video recorders will store up to 10 days of video history.
Installation of the additional security measures is nearly complete at the first 14 schools. By the end of the school year, all elementary, K-8 and middle schools will have video cameras and electronic card access systems. The installation will take place in three additional phases. Schools were prioritized based on a number of factors, including which schools were under-served and which schools lacked a clear line of sight to see who enters the building.
Madison High is included in the current project. Roosevelt, Franklin and Grant high schools are being modernized under the PPS School Improvement Bond. A cost analysis is being developed for installation at the remaining high schools. Because high schools are more complex buildings and have more complicated student traffic patterns than lower-grade schools, the implementation of new high school security systems will occur at a later phase.
PPS is paying for the $1.4 million security package by using $1.1 million in construction excise tax money that can only be spent on capital projects. Another $300,000 comes from facility maintenance funds.