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Shelby County School Board approves $5.5 million for safety and security upgrades

Memphis-Shelby County Schools said the safety and security of their students and staff remains their top priority.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Shelby County Board of Education passed a resolution Tuesday that approves a more than $5.5 million budget increase for school safety and security. 

Memphis-Shelby County Schools will give Cyber Technology Inc. more than $2.5 million for the purchase of licenses, access control equipment, and intrusion wiring; System Integrations more than $400,000 for the purchase of cameras and backup power supplies; and Oteka Technologies more than $2.5 million for the purchase of security cameras, intercoms, servers, and camera/access wiring for the upgrades. 

The district said most of the upgrades will be seamless for students and staff, but some of the schools that are returning from state-control back to MSCS may notice additional security measures to align them with other schools in the district.

"We are encouraged by and thankful for the support of the members of the Shelby County School Board," MSCS said in a statement. "They have always worked with the District to prioritize student safety, and we are grateful for their advocacy on behalf of our students."

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MSCS said the budget increase is not in response to Gov. Bill Lee's executive order requiring school districts present a new school safety plan by July 1, rather these upgrades have been planned for some time. 

"Mass shootings and active shooter incidents are on the rise," the district said in their proposal. "In an effort to ensure the safety and security of all students and staff, it is imperative that the district increase security technology measures wherever possible."

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MSCS said the money will be used to upgrade older systems throughout the district with cameras and an updated intrusions alarm system, improving the building access systems to ensure doors are locked and secured at all times.

The budget increase is approved for the 2022-2023 school year, but the district did not say when all schools should expect to see the upgrades.

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