By Dan King
Because of budget constraints, the Hartford Central School District is holding off on any decision to retrofit its bus garage with cameras.
“We’re waiting until the end of the year to see how much money, if any money, we have left in the budget for it,” said Superintendent Andrew Cook. “Chances are we won’t be able to do it without budgeting it for next year.”
Multiple bids from area companies have been received for the cameras, Cook said, ranging from $4,000 to $10,000, depending on the number and type of cameras. Some bids included infrared cameras, while others offer a more generic camera.
School officials are determining whether the cameras should be put on just the outside of the building or both the outside and inside, as well as how many cameras will be needed, he said.
Cook said the district is holding off on its decision until it conducts its survey to determine the conditions of all of the buildings and grounds.
“We’re about to start our buildings and conditions survey and find out if we have to make any renovations to the bus garage,” Cook said. “We don’t want to put the cameras on and then have to take them off and then put them back on again. We want to do this the right way.”
The district decided to look into the potential of cameras after an incident of vandalism which took place a year ago.
“We don’t have cameras on the bus garage and we had some graffiti on it about a year ago, as a result we decided to look at some products,” Cook said.
The graffiti, which wrapped around the north end of the building, made allegations against a district bus driver and cost $17,000 to have primer and a matching coat of paint put over it.
Cook said he is looking to see if the district can receive aid through the Safe Schools Act to purchase the cameras. The Safe Schools Act is a state initiative aimed at helping schools implement effective school safety strategies.