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School board OKs background checks for entry
by Adam Elrod
August 21, 2013 02:05 PM | 3604 views | 5 5 comments | 61 61 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Those other than students and staff entering a Paulding County school will soon be required to go through electronic background checks before going past the front office.

The Paulding County School Board last week voted unanimously to purchase the visitor identification system Keep N Track from COMPanion Corp. Initial cost for the system is $54,978 with a $13,566 annual licensing fee beginning in the second year.

District 4 Board Member Richard Manous said, “I think we need all the security we can get.”

The system will complete a background check on anyone signing in to enter a school, said Don Breedlove, Paulding schools executive director for safety and athletics.

It will scan government-issued identification, such as a driver’s license, and complete the check in about 30 seconds, he said.

“It adds validity to our security measures,” Breedlove said.

Administrators will have constant access to the system through smart phones, computers and tablets to see who is in the school, when they checked in and when they checked out.

If a visitor who has a reason to be at the school has something show up on a background check, the person will have to talk to a school administrator before being granted access.

The district started looking at purchasing such a system in November 2012, Breedlove said. They have the system budgeted in the fiscal year 2014 budget.

All maintenance and updates will be done by the company, he said.

“This company has ‘24-7, 365’ tech support,” Breedlove said.

All the school system has to provide is the computer and Internet to run the software.

Currently Paulding schools use a system in which visitors can write any name with no quick way to verify the identification.

Breedlove said he hopes to have the system installed in all 34 schools this week, but has not set a start date because they will need to train staff and inform parents. They will post information on the district’s website, send home information and call parents, he said.

Manous said the district has to be proactive and not reactive.

“I don’t think it is going to be a hindrance,” Manous said.

In other action at last week’s meeting, the board voted to decrease the millage rate from 18.909 to 18.879. The rollback was done to avoid an increase in revenue because of the increase in the county tax digest, said Chief Financial Officer Steve Barnette.

“The change will only result in a decrease of approximately $79,000, of the district’s estimated $50 million in projected property tax revenue,” he said.

This is the sixth straight year the board has lowered property taxes for the operation and maintenance of the district.

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