Schools to benefit from grant
Funds to help upgrade security in 2 buildings
Monday, October 14, 2013 7:00 PM
MENOMINEE - With budgets tight, grant funding often determines whether a project gets a thumbs up. The dredging of Great Lakes Memorial Marina is being done through a $1.2 million grant from the state of Michigan. Now the Menominee School District is also benefiting from a grant.
Menominee Police Chief Brett Botbyl submitted a request in July for security upgrades at Blesch Intermediate School and the high school. The result was made public Monday - funding for $20,000 worth of improvements has been approved for a Byrne JAG grant through the U.S. Department of Justice and administered by the Michigan State Police.
"Presently there are no cameras in the schools and no access control on the door systems so that's what we were intending to do at both the high school and Blesch," said Botbyl. "It's a proactive measure where we can try to enhance security, keep our students safe, our kids safe."
The chief refreshed the minds of committee members by recalling the bomb threats at the schools last year and informing them that before school let out for the summer there were a couple parents who violated personal protection orders when picking up their children at school.
"Is $20,000 enough?" asked committee member Arnie Organ.
"No, but it's a good start," replied Botbyl.
Since it is a reimbursement grant, the city must pay for the improvements first and then submit the bills for repayment. Members of the Finance Committee agreed Monday to recommend the council accept the grant and request a budget amendment for $20,000. That request will be made to the full council next week.
The police department is working in collaboration with the school district. Botbyl told the committee he will be responsible for handling the payment of bills and working with the contractors while the school will provide some of the labor. The district's technology specialists will be assessing the current hardware and determining how much more it can handle in the way of cameras and remote locks.
"I can't think of anything more important than providing for the safety of our students," said Organ.
School Superintendent Michael Cattani agreed, saying he's looking forward to getting the equipment installed as soon as possible and that the added security measures will help make the students and staff feel safer.
"It will be a big, big help to us," he said. "I think it will be phenomenal. We have people in the hallways now looking at the doors. Here if they come through the front door and they hit the buzzer system, you know they're coming right into the office."