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IPS begins implementing $52 million in security upgrades district wide

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Day one is in the books for Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) and safety remains a top priority. With 30,000 children in the district, new measures are being taken now to update security.

In November, voters approved the $52 million capital referendum that would implement updates to safety and security measures. Work has already begun to ensure IPS students are safe.

“It’ll save students,” said Scott Martin, the Deputy Superintendent of Operations for IPS.

So exactly where is the millions of dollars? Martin says it’s all a part of the IPS Safety and Modernization Project as school safety continues to evolve. All IPS school buildings are on the list for the upgrades.

“We’re in the process of designing exterior lighting that will be all LED lighting in our parking lots to increase safety for staff, students and parents,” said Martin.

While some upgrades are visible, like the bollards placed outside and updated fencing along the properties, others aren’t so obvious.

“Everything is designed to slow people down,” added Martin, “It’s about buying time so police and first responders can get there.”

Already at Crispus Attucks High School, there’s security film on the exterior doors and windows to prevent someone from entering the by shattering the glass and walking through.

“That film holds it together so that it can’t be breached,” said Martin.

Principal Lauren Franklin says teachers are getting used to new, heavy-duty locks on the classrooms.

“Now the teacher just can’t get in anymore,” said Franklin, “You must have a key to get in and the doors automatically lock right behind you.”

Martin says the upgrades to the classroom doors and locks are critical.

“Some of our schools have had locks where a teacher had to step out into the hallway and lock that door then come back in, well if there’s a threat in the hallway that’s not what you want to do,” said Martin.

The communication radios teachers are using are outdated. In an emergency, seconds matter. IPS is working to cut out steps and go straight to police.

Martin added, “We’re looking for a product that allows a staff member to go right to police dispatch.”

Although all upgrades could take until August 2020, Indianapolis Public Schools says each upgrade is an extra investment in a child’s education and safety.

“If you have evil intention, you can get through, but it takes more time, which buys us the response from police and fire if needed,” said Martin.

Construction on the safety and security upgrades will continue through the school year.

According to Indianapolis Public Schools:

The $52M capital referendum proposes a local property levy of no more than $0.0332 on each $100 of assessed valuation. The estimated taxpayer impact on a home with a market value of $123,500 would be $1.33 per month. The capital referendum taxes only applies to property owners within the IPS district.

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