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Butte school bond issue to beef up school security

Posted at 10:38 PM, Aug 29, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-30 00:38:25-04

Story by John Emeigh

BUTTE, Mont. – Butte’s six elementary schools and its middle school are aging and in need of upgrades. School officials believe it should be sooner than later.

“These upgrades were needed at all schools and they’re very expensive, these upgrades are extremely expensive and if we just kept piecemealing it we would never get it done,” said Butte Superintendent Judy Jonart.

The school district needs the taxpayers to help get it done by approving at $35 million dollar bond issue in November that will go to making improvements to the primary public schools. Security upgrades to the schools will be a priority.

“That means we will be addressing the interior doors of the classrooms, we’ll have a reinforced vestibule, we’re looking at changing out all the exterior doors and of course perimeter security including surveillance cameras and all of that,” Jonart said.

East Middle School Principal Keith Miller said the multilevel security will concentrate on fortifying the entrance of the school.

“It starts with good security cameras out in front so we can see if somebody’s coming. We have a point of entry here where you actually have to be buzzed in with a camera,” Miller said.

Many of Butte’s older schools, like East Middle, have several exterior doors around the school which could provide access to this facility and that’s why school officials say they need this new bond issue, to shore up what they consider a security breach.

“We talked last year about whenever you hear about an incident it makes you reflect about what you do and anytime you start to reflect you realize there’s always something more than you can do. And you should do and our community expects it and our community expects our kids are in school and they’re safe,” Miller said.

If the bond issue is approved, upgrades will be made to the electrical and fire suppression systems as well. The school district will schedule some public hearings next month and October to address this bond issue.