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More Details about Preschool Security Enhancements

Amy Silverstein | April 8, 2013

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What kind of fancy new technology can LAUSD preschools expect with the recent $7  million plan in security upgrades approved by the school board?

It turns out that the preschools already have a basic security system in place , so the new funds will be used to modernize the schools that could use an upgrade or to add a secondary security buzzer to the existing setup.

In all, $7 million is going to be spent at 76 different preschools on buzzers and new security gates, and also new playground equipment and restrooms in some cases.

The School Board approved the preschool plan late last month.  The projects are funded with bond revenue and are scheduled to be completed by the end of the 2013-2014 school year. You can see the resolution language here.

Though the preschool upgrade plan comes several months after LAUSD elementary schools added 1,000 new campus aides to bolster security in the wake of the Newtown tragedy, it has been in the works for a year — long before the shootings in Connecticut occurred.

“I know everybody was excited and thought it was connected to Newtown, but it wasn’t,” said Maureen Diekmann, head of LAUSD’s Early Education Division.

In fact, LAUSD early education centers already come equipped with a special doorbell buzzer system, which includes a monitor and an entry button in the office manager’s desk.

“In order for it to let somebody in, somebody has to be at that desk or get to that desk and let them in,” said Diekmann.

So how did all the preschools end up with a secure door buzzer system in the first place, while elementary schools are stuck with supposedly “cheap” security?

Blame size. According to Diekmann, the early education centers are tiny, sometimes even just housed in bungalows, so it’s easier to keep a tight lock on the entrance.  There are also far fewer of them than elementary schools.

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