Frontier school officials are trying to find ways to improve security at the district’s bus garage after it was vandalized a week ago, forcing the school district to shut down for a day.
The district is trying to get additional security and cameras in place as soon as possible, even though that wasn’t planned until the third phase of the district’s capital project, said Interim Superintendent Paul G. Hashem. The third phase was not set to begin until summer, 2015.
In the meantime, Frontier is using its own staff to handle night watch duty at the transportation area.
Damages to the buses and part of a high school area under construction for the capital project totaled an estimated $8,900. Additional costs tied to the vandalism, which former Frontier student Andrew Lathrop, 18, is accused of causing, are still being tallied.
“We are asking for reimbursement from the individual, but whether he is capable is (unknown),” Hashem said after the School Board’s meeting.
The cost of the night watch crew is still unknown, but it is in effect seven days a week. There’s also the unknown cost of additional enhanced security measures that are under review.
The district is paying for the additional staff duties and damages out of its general fund, Hashem said.
“We’re not having anyone not there when we’re not on duty,” he said of the bus garage.
Hashem said the district is looking at different grant possibilities and the New York State SAFE Act for potential funding to cover the cost of the enhanced security that had been planned as part of the capital project.
Part of the project involves installing cameras in the bus staging area to place it under direct video surveillance. Hashem said the district also is considering having the new cameras linked into the Hamburg Town Police Department.
He and top administrators on Tuesday reviewed strategies to avoid closing the district’s schools, should something like this occur again.
“It’s a shame that we had to close schools because of one individual,” Hashem said. He said the board has not yet been informed of any details under consideration.
Hashem commended the staff for handling the situation well in the emergency closing and the bus garage personnel for cleaning all the buses.
Hashem did not hint at what punishment the district is seeking against Lathrop, who reportedly dropped out of school, but he did say “It’s the full extent of the law. ... We’re not asking for anything specific, but let the legal system do its job.”
Board member Thomas Best Jr., who is on the town police force, said Lathrop did not like some of his teachers.
“He’s not an evil, nasty kid,” Best said.