DeKalb School Board approves $8 million contract for metal detectors at high schools and middle schools

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DeKalb County School District Administration and Industrial Complex on Mountain Industrial Blvd. in Stone Mountain. Photo by Dean Hesse

By Dan Whisenhunt

The DeKalb County School Board met on March 13 and voted to approve an $8 million contract with Evolv Weapons Detection for metal detectors at high schools and middle schools across the district.

The $8 million will be spent over four years, with $3.2 million being spent in year one.

“The DeKalb County School District has seen an increase in weapons that have been brought onto school campus. Weapons detection technology can assist in keeping campuses safe and deterring possible crisis situations,” the agenda item says.

According to the agenda, Evolv uses a combination of sensor technology and artificial intelligence to screen students for weapons.

“The Evolv Weapons Detection System combines powerful sensor technology with proven artificial intelligence, security ecosystem integrations and comprehensive venue analytics to ensure safer, more accurate threat detection at an unprecedented speed and volume,” the agenda says. “The technology allows individuals to enter school buildings without stopping, emptying pockets or bags or waiting in lines. Stations include technological devices that will be monitored by school safety personnel. The devices will identify specifically where the items in question are located to allow for quick intervention.”

Prior to the presentation about the metal detectors from DeKalb Schools Police Chief Bradley Gober, Interim Superintendent Vasanne Tinsley shared a report on student discipline. To read that full report, click here.

The report shows a jump in the number of weapons brought to school in the 2019-2020 school year and the number of weapons brought to school in 2021-2022 school year.

Slide from a DeKalb County Schools presentation.

“We have alarming issues facing our children,” School Board member Vickie Turner said after Tinsley finished her report.

Some school board members asked to table the contract for metal detectors until April to give them more time to study the contract, but that motion was rejected by the board. Dissenting board members said it was important for the board to move quickly to put these safety measures in place. Decaturish will update this story with additional information about that discussion.

Whitney McGinnis, the school board’s newest member, favored tabling the contract until next month.

“Being newly elected to the DeKalb School Board, I wanted more time to deliberate on what I consider to be a complex and nuanced issue,” McGinnis said. “This item was added to our agenda Friday afternoon and at the time of our vote, there were still unanswered questions regarding implementation.”

In other business at the March 13 meeting, the school board approved the following:

— A contract extension with Real Eyes Entertainment/DBA Real Eyes Production for $250,000. “The DeKalb County School District utilizes the services from Real Eyes Entertainment/DBA Real Eyes Production to offer professional, well-executed graduation ceremonies by providing quality graduation audio, video, and staging services,” the school board’s meeting agenda says.

— Purchasing the Bullying Prevention and Child Protection Unit for K-5 schools. The cost of the licenses, which will support all elementary schools, is a one-time purchase and will not exceed $158,511.60.

— Agreeing to give Georgia State University $220,088 of a $1,557,4010 grant to support the recruitment and training of the DeKalb County School District certified educators or individuals from underrepresented groups and/or those living in communities served by the DeKalb school district to alleviate the financial burden of graduate school. “The purpose of the DCSD-[Recruit, Train and Retain] project is to address the mental health services for PreK – 12th grade students by increasing the overall number of school psychologists from diverse backgrounds. This project will recruit future school psychologists from diverse backgrounds or who live within the communities served by DCSD,” the agenda says.

— Approving a $702,236.16 contract with Frontline Education for asset management, applicant tracking absence management, professional development management, and employee evaluation management services.

— A $3,319,889 contract with GreenPages Technologies for the purchase of professional services and hardware to support the modernization of the district’s technology infrastructure.

— A $9,450,000 contract with Integrated Communication Networks, Inc., which marks year five of a five-year agreement with the district. According to the agenda, the company will provide equipment and services that will refresh local area network cabling in all school buildings and facilities,

— A $8,553,600 contract with Integrated Communications Network (LCN) for district-wide wireless infrastructure equipment and services. The company will provide equipment and services that will refresh wireless networks in all school buildings and facilities, according to the agenda.

— A $205,320 contract with Zayo Group for self-provisioned fiber maintenance. “This will allow the district to seek Category 1 reimbursement for Internet Connections and non-recurring services,” the school board agenda says. “This is year 1 of a five-year agreement.”

— A $1,948,997.40 contract with Integrated Communication Network (ICN) Inc. “This award will allow the district to seek Category 2 reimbursement for fiber cabling and services,” the agenda says.

— A $1,676,823.50 contract with CDW-G LLC for switches, GBICS and all services (technical and maintenance) for the district-wide network system. “The FCC’s E-Rate program makes telecommunications and information services more affordable for schools and libraries,” the school board agenda says. “With funding from the Universal Service Fund, E-Rate provides discounts for telecommunications, Internet access, and internal connections to eligible schools and libraries. The discount percentage is based off the Districts Free and reduced lunch percentage.”

— A $13,565,232 contract with CDW-G LLC for e-rate switch and GBICS equipment, maintenance, and technical support. “This will allow the district to seek Category 2 reimbursement for switches and GBICS equipment, accessories, services, and maintenance,” the school board agenda says.

— A $1,500,000 contract with SACAL Environmental & Management Company for asbestos and lead paint abatement services. This is the second year of a four year contract. “On March 15, 2021, the Board of Education approved SACAL Environmental & Management Company as the most responsive and responsible offeror to provide district wide asbestos and abatement services on an as-needed basis,” the school board agenda says.

— A $400,000 contract to rent uniforms maintenance, fleet and custodial staff.

— A $3,400,000 contract with Southeast Link, Veritiv Operating Company, and W.W. Grainger for custodial equipment.

— A $2,000,000 contract for custodial supplies with Acuity Specialty Products dba Zep, Buckeye Atlanta, Central Poly-Bag Corp., Southeastern Paper, Veritiv Operating Company, and W.W. Grainger.

— An $84,000 contract with Canty Consulting Services “to provide administrative and compliance support for the implementation of the Davis Bacon Wage Rate requirements for approved construction projects,” according to the agenda.

— A $1,000,000 agreement with Herc Rentals for the “rental of various maintenance equipment,” according to the agenda.

— A $448,800.00 contract with Centennial Contractors Enterprises, Inc. for health center expansion at Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy.

— A $300,000 contract to Matrix Engineering Group, Inc., MC Squared, Inc., NOVA Engineering and Environmental, LLC, Terracon Consultants, Inc., and S&ME, Inc. The contract is for geotechnical, environmental and construction material testing.

— A $250,000 contract with Graybar Electric Company, Inc. to purchase lighting for district facilities.

— A $3,110,663 contract with Mobile Modular Management Corporation to dispose, relocate, install, and renovate existing portable classrooms to install fire sprinkler systems in accordance with the new Georgia State Fire Marshall requirements.

— A $2,000,000 contract with Core Roofing Systems, Inc., and Klein Contracting Corporation for roofing contractor services.

— A $290,000 contract with Darling Ingredients for grease trap and septic tank plumbing services.

— A $2,500,000 contract with Elite Plumber, LLC, K.E.G. Plumbing & Mechanical, Inc., MAXAIR Mechanical, LLC and Sid’s Sewer and Drain, Inc. for plumbing contractor services.

— A $76,000 contract to R&W Motorcoach for motorcoach bus services. “The purpose for the service: to transport students from the 24 high schools to the graduation site (Hallford Stadium) and return them to their respective high school during the week of May 22-27, 2023,” the meeting agenda says.

— A $312,538.88 modular classroom building lease for for E. L. Miller Elementary. The lease is with Mobile Modular Management Corporation.

— Accepting $25,000 from Amazon Future Engineer Program for Chapel Hill Elementary School. “The funds will be used to support the school’s STEM Lab with the purchase of instructional materials and supplies,” the meeting agenda says.

— Accepting $5,000 from Academy Sports and Outdoors. According to the meeting agenda, “a teacher at Barack H. Obama Elementary School was awarded a shopping spree for his Pre-K Class to celebrate Black History Month. Academy Sports and Outdoors will also be providing $500 in equipment for the P.E. program at the school. Since Barack H. Obama Elementary is a part of the DeKalb County School District, the company has generously donated $5,000 to the district as well.”

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