SYRACUSE — Beginning sometime after Labor Day, visitors to any of the schools in the Wawasee Community School Corporation will experience something much different than they’re used to. Security upgrades will mean visitors will be greeted by Raptor, a new camera system.
The Wawasee school board was given a brief report about Raptor during the board’s regular monthly meeting Tuesday, Aug. 8, in Syracuse. When someone comes to the main entrance of a school building, they will be asked to provide a form of government identification to scan in.
Steve Perek, assistant principal at Wawasee High School, noted the security system will automatically check the ID to see if there is a match with the national sex offender registry, and likely other databases. If there is no match, a visitor’s badge will be printed out. If there is a match, an administrator will be notified.
Perek noted Warsaw Community Schools has been using Raptor for a while and is pleased with the results. Raptor will be used during the school day only and not for after hours events. Mike Wilson of the school board said the new system needs to be well publicized so the public will know what to expect.
In other business, James Flecker, director of personnel and legal services for the school corporation, said work continues to install the new BenQ interactive technology boards in every classroom in the school corporation. The BenQ boards will replace technology boards in some classrooms, while for other classrooms it will be the first such technology board installed.
New furniture is also coming for Milford School and Wawasee Middle School, and new desks have been put together for North Webster Elementary.
Also on the agenda, the board approved an appropriation to allow $453,277 from the bus replacement fund to be spent on new buses. Jim Evans, director of finances, said there is a new state requirement in place requiring the school board to grant permission to spend money “we already have.”
Evans also reported to the board the sale of 2017 bonds was completed Aug. 3 at an interest rate of 2.83 percent. Those bonds are for ongoing projects such as the renovation of the former VFW building and others.
The board also heard a report from Mike Snavley, director of transportation, about the recent delivery of two 46-passenger activity buses. They are white school buses accented with school colors and “Wawasee Community Schools.”
Each bus is equipped with coach type seating, USB ports for each seat, Wi-Fi, DVD drop down screens and more. Students will be able to bring their 1:1 devices and use them while on a field trip, for example, and teachers can use the screens to present lessons. The buses will be used for field trips, sports teams and others. After the board meeting was adjourned, some of the board members took a look at and rode on one of the buses.
During the patron comments portion of the meeting, Melissa Atwood, a teacher in the Wawasee corporation and a parent, began to address the board about a concern with the athletic handbook. But she only spoke very briefly before being told by Rebecca Linnemeier, board president, she instead should set up a meeting with Flecker, the athletic director and high school principal.
Other agenda items included:
• A $40,000 Dekko grant was awarded for the gone boarding program that will be taught to ninth-graders of Wawasee High School.
• Debbie Collins, who taught for 28 years in Wawasee schools and 32 total, will be retiring and was recognized by the board. She was most recently an English teacher at Milford School.
• Dr. Tom Edington, superintendent, gave a detailed report about his trip to China.
• An open house and dedication for the new Syracuse Elementary School will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 10, at the school on Kern Road.