According to Trustees for the Pharr-San Juan-Alamo school district gave its blessing to spend just under half-a-million dollars of grant money on access control technology for its high school and middle school campuses.
Assistant Superintendent for Technology Lauro Devalos told the board the district received $528,000 in federal funds distributed through a TEA grant meant to increase the safety and security on campuses.
The door access controls equipment PSJA ISD is buying for $482,410.55, and will allow school personnel to decide who can open certain doors and keep a log of who’s using entrances.
“So what will happen is we will be able to know who is accessing our schools during school hours, after hours,” he said. “We can grant access to individuals — who should be going in, who shouldn’t be going in. So we’ll be able to see every time an ID is used to open that door. It’ll create a log, so that will increase the security of our campus.”
PSJA ISD Police Chief Rolando Garcia said spending that grant money has been a long running project for his relatively young department.
“We had been working on this one since the creation of our police department,” he said. “This was the original school and safety grant that was awarded in 2019, and one of the main priorities was of course making our campuses as safe as possible.”
Access logs created by the new technology can be used in investigations, Garcia said, adding that he hopes the technology reassures employees.
“Three vendors were sent an invitation and two submitted a quote, Garcia said. A committee of district personnel recommended awarding the project to 3Sixty Integrated.”
“We had a great group of people that were really, really dedicated and making sure that we got the best equipment for the money that we have,” Garcia said. “And again, this is just a shot in the arm, it’s a base equipment to where we can really expand here in the future in what we want to do.”
The access technology should be installed by May 13, Garcia said.
Trustees seemed widely complimentary toward the project, although Jesus “Jesse” Vela noted that the district has significantly sized elementary campuses that will not be covered by the new technology.
“We have several large, very big, elementaries with a lot of traffic. And the issue is traffic, who’s going in, who’s going out, and controlling all of that,” he said.
Trustees asked Garcia if his department is looking at other grant possibilities. He said it is, including into a grant for a K-9.
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