Ohio County Board of Education OKs Contract for New Security Cameras | News, Sports, Jobs | #schoolsaftey

photo by: Joselyn King

Jeff Sarver of Siemens speaks about new security cameras coming to Ohio County Schools during Monday’s board of education meeting.

WHEELING — Ohio County Schools will spend $371,068 to purchase additional security cameras for schools throughout the district.

Board of Education members heard the details of a purchase of cameras from the Siemens company, which involved three separate contracts, according to Business Manager Steven Bieniek.

The first contract would provide cameras at Elm Grove Elementary at a cost of $125,680. The facility is presently being renovated. Also under construction is Middle Creek Elementary School, which is slated to receive $116,377 in cameras.

The cameras for Elm Grove and Middle Creek elementaries only will be paid for through funds provided by the West Virginia School Building Authority.

Meanwhile, additional cameras will also be purchased as “fill ins” for Wheeling Park HIgh School and Steenrod, West Liberty and Bethlehem elementaries for $129,011. These cameras will be paid for through the school district’s general fund, though they are subject to an 80% reimbursement from the state, Bieniek added.

The camera purchases include installation costs.

Board members moved to accept the terms of the three contracts.

Among the cameras being purchased are those for “self-contained” classrooms specifically for special needs students, which are now mandated under state law. Twelve special education classrooms will receive cameras, with a total of six restrooms attached to the self-contained classrooms set to receive an audio-only recording device, according to Nicole Shepherd, Behavior Specialist and Alternative Education Coordinator for Ohio County Schools.

The West Virginia Legislature passed legislation requiring cameras in all self-contained special education classrooms following an incident in Berkeley County in 2018, when a camera exposed that a special needs student was being abused by teachers there.

All security cameras in use within Ohio County Schools will now come from Siemens, which has an office in Pittsburgh. Board president Andy Garber said the school district has been doing business with the company since the 1990s.

Jeff Sarver, fire solutions account executive for Siemens, told board members Monday there would be recurring costs each year associated with the cameras, but that he didn’t know what those figures would be.

Board member David Croft asked that he provide those to the school district, and he asked if Siemens had made any reductions in its costs to Ohio County Schools.

Sarver said Siemens did provide discounts, and that he again did not know the amount. He said he would also provide those to the school district.

“Is the system now complete, or are we looking at having to come back and make more purchases later?” board member Erik Schramm asked.

Assistant Superintendent Rick Jones said, “It will be close.”

Schramm said he also wanted to know what the yearly license fee was, and if it also would be reimbursed by the state. Bieniek said anything pertaining to security is reimbursed 80% by the State Department of Education.

Jones announced a county-wide safety committee meeting is set for 8:15 a.m. Wednesday at the Board of Education office, 2203 National Road, Elm Grove. Among those asked to attend are selected students, staff and school security officers.

Jones added he would like to host safety meetings “about every six weeks to keep everybody informed and let them know what kind of steps we are taking” when it comes to safety.

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