STATE GRANT TO BUY CAMERAS
By JENNIFER HILL • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
COOPERSTOWN – While contemplating how to respond to a student’s beating and the furor it evoked, Cooperstown Central School Superintendent Bill Crankshaw got some welcome good news.
After a four-year wait, CCS received word Monday, June 17, it has received $500,000 in state Smart School Bond money intended for security and infrastructure improvements in the schools.
“It’s great news and it’s a relief,” said Crankshaw.
It means the district has funds to help assuage parents’ and students’ safety concerns after two high school students allegedly called a classmate a “f—-t” and kicked and beat him.
Parents and students packed a Cooperstown PTA meeting on Tuesday, June 11, and a school board one Thursday, June 13, some upset at school administrators’ handling of the alleged attack and bullying prevention, in general.
Of the half-million dollars, $240,000 will be used to install security cameras campus-wide “in areas that have the most traffic and potential for safety concerns” and about $70,000 will go to installing “a new centralized proximity-reader system connected to the security camera system,” according to CCS’ Smart School Bond’s Plan Summary in using the funds.
The rest will upgrade the junior/senior high school’s main entrance and relocating the school district’s main office. The plan summary describes the main entrance as “several yards from the actual main office. This has posed some safety issues with controlling entry into the building with regard to visibility, but also immediate containment of visitors.”
Crankshaw credited state Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford, for getting the money released. “Senator Seward was instrumental in making that happen, not just for Cooperstown, but for all schools in his district,” he said.
The superintendent is also exploring ideas about anti-bullying measures, managing behavioral problems, and making students feel safe at school. A recurring idea was for more student involvement in developing initiatives.
Crankshaw said he, his staff, and the board are looking at “the best mechanism” to enable parents, teachers, staff and students to work together on important school issues.
“One is creating a Wellness and Health subcommittee that would be made up those four stakeholders,” he said. “Another would be a shared decision-making model, which would have teams of stakeholders working together.”
Crankshaw also said he and school staff would be reviewing the district’s Comprehensive Instructional Plan, a document which defines “everything we do” to educate students – curriculum, codes of conduct, guidance counseling, sports, special education, etc.
“Every year, we go through the plans described in the Comprehensive Instructional Plan and check to see if they are relevant, rigorous, and form good relationships,” Crankshaw said. “We will be doing that in the summer.”
The superintendent said he was “definitely interested in moving forward” and would continue taking “improvements to be made to the district seriously.”