C-I School District proposes enhancements to school safety, visitor management with bond referendum

Dr. Ray Queener, Superintendent
Cambridge-Isanti School District

Independent School District 911 has long valued one of the most critical components being proposed in the bond referendum — the safety and security of students and all those who occupy its school buildings on a day-to-day basis.

The District — along with schools throughout Minnesota and the nation — has grown increasingly aware of efforts that will help to enhance safety and security measures already in place at its schools. The District’s goal is to pair with the best practices in school safety identified by security professionals by improving visitor management and building accessibility district-wide.

Dr. Ray Queener
Dr. Ray Queener

Standardizing visitor management at our schools will help to increase awareness and management of building traffic. Complying with the District’s standards will help to provide safe and healthy learning environments for our students.

Physical building modifications are needed to address the safety and security of the District’s schools. One modification the District is proposing is to renovate school entrances. This will be funded by the $10 million bond referendum should it be approved by voters on Nov. 5.

By modifying entrances at all school buildings and making use of existing vestibules to monitor and control visitor entrance into our schools, the District will be able to proactively enhance its security measures.

These vestibules will undergo remodeling to create a passageway between the entrance doors and visitor access into the interior of each building through another set of secure doors. Visitors will enter school buildings through one set of outer doors, and then be directed to a reception area that will be contained between the outer doors, and another set of doors offering a secure entrance.

At the reception desk, visitors will be asked to present an acceptable form of picture I.D. in order to gain a badge before they are able to pass through the secure doors. It is only by going through the physical checkpoint that the reconstruction of the vestibules would offer that visitors will be able to gain access to the interior of the building.

The plan to modify the entrances to our schools is an improvement that was reviewed and supported by local law enforcement officials in Aug.

The District encourages the active interest of parents and community members in school programs and student activities while recognizing visitor management as a vital component of maintaining safe and effective learning environments for our students.

The District’s Long Range Facilities Planning Committee has worked with consultants, community members, staff and administration to identify cost efficient building and facility modifications that will continue the District’s extended history of offering superior educational settings. Though the District receives money from the State each year to use for replacement and repairs to its buildings, the cost for the urgent needs are greater than the funding the District receives.

The proposed bond referendum will provide the money the District needs to meet its financial responsibility to maintain the community’s facilities and buildings. If the bond referendum is supported by the communities, detailed design work will begin following the election with construction to begin the summer of 2014.

We welcome the public to attend informational meetings on the bond referendum Sept. 26 from 7-8:30 p.m. at Cambridge-Isanti High School, and Sept. 30 at Isanti Intermediate School/School For All Seasons, from 7-8:30 p.m.

Community members can also attend public informational meetings at the Isanti Community Center Sept. 25 from 7-8:30 p.m. or at the Minnco Community Center Community Room Oct. 2 from 7-8:30 p.m.

More informational meetings will follow with dates, times, and locations available on the District’s website.

You can also learn more about the bond referendum and access physical plans for proposed building modifications at http://www.cambridge.k12.mn.us/~bondreferendum/.

Keep informed of referendum initiatives by following @Queener1 on Twitter or call the superintendent’s office at 763-689-6188.