TWIN FALLS — High-definition security cameras. Checking if visitors are registered sex offenders. Locking building entrances.
These are a few changes you’ll notice at Twin Falls School District campuses this year. For students, the first day of school is Aug. 17.
School security has become a hot topic nationwide, particularly in light of school shootings like 2012 in Newtown, Conn. Here in Twin Falls, improving school security was identified as a key priority during safety audit in 2014 and has been an ongoing project since then.
“It’s really exciting to see that the Twin Falls School District has been very proactive to increase the safety of the students within our schools,” said operations director Ryan Bowman, who started on the job this summer.
Voters approved a nearly $74 million bond in 2014, with the bulk of the money going toward building two new elementary schools and a middle school. But about $1.3 million was used for school security upgrades.
Changes include new high-definition security cameras and electronic key card readers. Installing equipment has been an ongoing project since 2014.
More security upgrades will be coming in future years, Bowman said. They’ll likely be paid for using plant facilities levy money.
But the voter-supported levy — $3.3 million annually for 10 years — is set to expire this year. The district is considering bringing a renewal request to voters during the March 2018 election.
A budget advisory committee will look at whether to run a levy again and how much money to seek, school district spokeswoman Eva Craner said.
What new security measures can you expect at your child’s school? Here’s an overview of four of the changes:
A new program called Raptor will be used to do a security check when a visitor comes into each school.
Visitors will be asked for their…