SHERIDAN — The Sheridan County School District 2 Board voted unanimously Tuesday night to approve a vendor bid from Elder Equipment of Casper for $48,649.58 to install surveillance cameras in all district buses.
The district currently has six buses with cameras installed, but will increase that number to 40. Each bus will carry three cameras.
“The push is now to put a camera in all of our buses as well as activity buses that go out of town,” explained SCSD 2 Transportation Director Steve Schlicting. “When we are notified that something happened on the bus, we go back and review and it has helped back up what the driver said or resolve the dispute, whatever it may be, so it is a good tool.”
The district advertised bids in April and May and bids were received from four vendors.
In a memo to the SCSD 2 Board, Schlicting recommended Elder Equipment be awarded the bid based on the quality and resolution of the picture provided by the cameras, the dependability of the REI brand of camera being installed, the good reputation of the company for on-time service and a record of excellent after-sale support.
Schlicting said the experience with the current cameras in use has been positive so far.
“Everything I have heard from the buses we have so far, they (bus drivers) like it,” Schlicting said. “For the most part it has backed up what they said in terms of students discipline.”
Not only do the cameras provide visual evidence of conflicts, Schlicting said he believes the play a role in deterring discipline problems.
“Just knowing the possibility that they could be on tape I think has changed their behavior,” Schlicting said about students on the bus.
In addition to buses inside the camera, Schlicting said the district may look at installing cameras on the outside of the bus to capture motorists that illegally pass buses while they are loading or unloading students. He said this is a significant problem, particularly on busy streets such as Coffeen Avenue and North Main Street.
In other business, the board was updated on building construction by Superintendent Craig Dougherty. He said work on the Henry A. Coffeen School is progressing quickly.
“It is a nice clean site which is what we like to see,” he said. “We are really thrilled to see that progressing.”
In addition, Story School renovations are in progress.
“Story School is completely gutted,” he said. “That thing is moving along nicely as well.”
The board also unanimously approved and accepted several donations to Sheridan High School from local individuals and businesses including $500 to FBLA from RAMACO, LLC; $1,500 to the Sark Music Summer String Program from the Witzel family; $1,500 for salaries and travel expenses related to the Sark Music Summer String Program from Thomas and Felicia Kirven; $500 to Destination Imagination from Bruce Burns; $500 to the Sheridan High School Golf Club from The Louis W. Horvath Foundation, Inc.; and $1,512 in free advertising was donated to FBLA’s coffee fundraiser from Jim Schellinger and Sheridan Media.