The Northside ISD School Board has voted to implement the last phase of a ten year project installing cameras in all of its schools. The district's elementary schools will now be placed under the monitor of digital cameras.
Northside's middle and high schools already have security cameras installed; those were approved in 2004 and 2007 through bond packages. The 2010 bond package called for $20 million to add them to elementary schools.
Northside spokesman Pascual Gonzalez said board members have unanimously approved a bid under the original budget proposal. Installing cameras at all 75 elementary schools will cost the district $14.3 million.
Gonzalez also said that package will also include upgrading the existing surveillance programs at the secondary schools.
"All of the cameras, all of the intrusion alarms -- which are burglar alarms -- all of the fire alarms, and all of the access controls will all be rolled-in under one system, where as right now they’re different systems,” Gonzalez said.
The cameras will be installed in public areas of the campuses like hallways, gymnasiums, auditoriums and cafeterias, but not in individual classrooms or private areas. They will not be constantly monitored but checked on an as-needed basis.
"This is a mammoth project that will take about 18 months to complete, but by the time it’s all said and done, all Northside schools will have a security umbrella around them," he said.
Gonzalez said the implementation of the cameras was not a reaction to the Newtown shootings but the initiative took on more meaning because of the events.