This is one of the new security cameras that the Petersburg School District installed at the high school. (Photo courtesy of Jon Kludt-Painter)

Petersburg School District has installed new security cameras in some areas inside and outside of the high school. The district is also considering purchasing unmanned cameras to stream live events from the gym and pool. These topics and more were discussed at the last school board meeting, Tuesday night. KFSK’s Angela Denning reports:

Petersburg School District is supposed to educate young students but even before that, the district is supposed to keep them safe.

“That is a big thing as we talk about better safety,” said Petersburg High School Principal, Rick Dormer. “If we prioritize what we do, I mean, education is awesome but obviously student safety is number one.”

To that end, Petersburg High School upgraded some of the old security cameras that they’ve had for many years and added more cameras in new areas. Dormer says the old cameras were outdated and the image was never very good.

“Archaic, ancient, really, really old,” Dormer said. “And we’re very fortunate with a very safe school and we hardly ever use it. But every now and then it’s nice to have that and get a second look at something when things aren’t going well or checking stuff out.”

New cameras were installed in the hallways, gym, library, and computer classrooms although they’re not in most other classrooms. There are some night-vision cameras in the parking areas, behind the cafeteria, and near bike racks. The new cameras were installed by the technology department.

Dormer says administration will be able to access the cameras through their phones as needed. He says it will be much easier to review and save copies of the videos.

This is one of the new security cameras that the Petersburg School District installed at the high school. (Photo courtesy of Jon Kludt-Painter)

School starts for Petersburg students on August 26. But some sports have already gotten underway like high school cross country and swim. Some details of school competitions this fall and winter are still being worked out because of $43 million in state budget cuts to the ferry service.  The school district uses the ferry system to get to many regional events. Activities Director, Jaime Cabral, told the school board that the winter ferry schedule will haven one ferry going north and one going south just once a week from October through February.

“So that’s what we’re kind of waiting on as a region too because we have not approved our basketball schedules yet because we’re not sure what it looks like,” Cabral said. ” So, we’re kind of on hold until that kind of happens whether or not we need to adjust even more.”

Cabral says they were able to make some ferry reservations in June. He says the cross country schedule is pretty much set but they’re not sure what will happen with the second half of the swim season.

An alternative to taking the ferry is for students to fly on Alaska Airlines. Cabral says it’s more expensive than ferries but it’s cheaper than chartering smaller planes and boats.

In other activities news, the school district is considering purchasing cameras to be used to stream home events like basketball games, swim meets, and music concerts. The streaming cameras are unmanned and automatically follow movement so no one has to be present to run them. They would get installed above the gym and pool.  Other school districts in the state, like Anchorage and Craig, are installing them too. It will cost $6,000 to ship two cameras to Petersburg and they are under a five year warranty contract.

In other news at the schools, Maintenance Director Dan Tate, says his staff is working on downsizing the water feeds to the district buildings to save money. Tate says the water and sewer service charges are based on the size of the feed coming into the buildings and after evaluating the water usage at the high school they decided to downsize.

“The high school’s feed is six inches or was six inches with a monthly charge of roughly $3,400. It was reduced to a one and a half inch feed and should only cost a few hundred dollars a month going forward,” Tate said. “The middle school and community center do not have as large a feed and will be completed at a later date.”

In the long run, once the water feeds change at the two other sites, Tate expects it to save the school district $2,000 a month.