LONG BEACH — This spring, voters will have a say in how Peninsula school safety is handled.

The Ocean Beach School District Board of Directors voted unanimously to approve a resolution regarding a $2.5 million capital projects levy at its Feb. 20 meeting. The board will include the levy, which focuses on school safety, on an April 23 special election ballot.

If passed, the levy will be for five years. During the first year, it would be for $0.05 per $1,000 of assessed value while it overlaps with the district’s retiring capital levy. During the following years, it would be $0.29 and $0.30 for two years each per $1,000 of assessed value.

The levy focuses on six measures relating to school safety and the forthcoming reconfiguration of grades:

• Establishing a single-point entry to each school

• Hiring a resource officer

• Installing an alarm system for exterior doors

• Installing cameras

• Installing fencing

• Installing a portable classroom

“I’m excited and I think this is going to do some really great things for our schools,” said board member Kathy Mathews. “Thank you to everybody involved with this.”

Resource officer

The proposed resource officer would be employed for at least three years. He or she would share contact between all the schools.

“My hope is that after three years you will have truly set a culture of safety,” said OBSD Interim Superintendent Scott Fenter. “I expect quite a climate change with the addition of the resource officer.”

The officer wouldn’t be undercover and would be well-known by students, Fenter said.

Safety additions

Single-point entry: Each campus will have a single-point entry and a secure visitor sign-in area. This step will require the district to do some redesigning.

Exterior doors: All exterior doors will be connected to an alarm and camera systems. Improved lighting will also be brought to each school.

Cameras: Cameras will be installed in each school at “key exterior points” and in common-use spaces such as cafeterias. The cameras will be easily accessible by school administrators and local law enforcement.

Fencing: Fencing will also be added to the district’s four school campuses. The fencing will limit outside access to the schools.

Portable

As part of its 2019-2020 reconfiguration project, OBSD plans to purchase a double-room portable for Ocean Park Elementary. The portable is expected to help the district manage its enrollment needs for a five to seven-year period.

The board needs to hold a public hearing before adding the portable, Fenter said. He said he’s hoping to have the portable at the OPE campus as soon as possible.

The district will need to add parking spaces to the OPE campus, Fenter said.

Next steps

Before the election, the board will form a committee focused on the levy. The board will also work with community members and groups in an effort to get the levy passed.

“Hopefully, one visit leads to another visit, which leads to another,” Fenter said.

Alyssa Evans is a staff writer for the Chinook Observer. Contact her at 360-642-8181 or aevans@chinookobserver.com

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