East Lansing Voting on Security and Technology Improvements

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EAST LANSING (WILX)-- Is protecting elementary kids worth a tax hike? Tuesday night East Lansing voters will answer that question.

The East Lansing Public School District has a $5.3 Million proposed Technology, Security, and Communication Bond on the ballot.

The district needs a major technology upgrade, and doesn't want to wait any longer to improve security at the elementary level.

"We've been waiting fro an election like this we attempted a more comprehensive election a year ago, but this is specific to technology, security, and communication," said Superintendent David Chapin.

If passed improving the security for all of the elementary schools is high priority.

"We'd like to cover a few critical area's such as the parking lot and front entrances. We'd like to replace the metal keys for exterior doors. It's going to be a card they wave in front of a reader. That gives us the opportunity to centrally manage the system and we can do an instant lock down on the entire district," said Director of Technology Chris Palasty.

"Safety of our student's has always been our number one priority. This discussion about security was well underway this fall before the very unfortunate events in Connecticut. I think people have brought that forward as an added element for this election. We've tried to steer clear of that," said Chapin.

Technology is the other high priority for the district. All the schools have out of date computers, and don't always have enough to go around. Plus, the bells, clocks, and P.A. systems are more than 20 years old.

"Our oldest (computer) systems are at the high school and they are 10 years old. You have a 10 year old laptop that is not as productive, not running the newest software, and it's not as fast, said Palasty. I know there has been some frustration expressed our way. Teachers go to conferences and come back with information they learned, and they're not able to Implement it as much or as soon as they would like. It's because of limitations on what's available and when it's available."

If approved tax payers would see 1.26 milage increase over the 5 years. That's an extra $126 dollars per year for a home that has the tax value of $100,000.

"If successful we will have the funds in hand as early as May and we'll begin our work this summer. When students return in the fall they will see some significant changes," said Chapin.

If the bond fails the district will make whatever improvements it can within it's already tight budget.

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