School safety a top priority for Derby bond issue

DERBY, Kan. "Unfortunately we're as a nation dealing with what happened yesterday in Florida - and it's a constant reminder that our schools are not as safe as they used to be." says Joe Dessenberger. He's the director of operations for Derby Schools, and for him, safety is a top concern.

"We have to prepare ourselves for that. Not that we hope it ever comes, but we certainly have to be prepared."

He says right now, schools in Derby are lacking in that preparedness.

"When a teacher is inside the classroom, if they go into lockdown they have to physically go outside the classroom to lock or unlock the door." He says. "Imagine if the intruder is already in that hallway. She'll never have the chance to lock that door."

Among the changes included in the latest bond issue are improvements to classroom locks - adding a panic button for teachers and students to use in case of an emergency.

The district also wants to do away with portable classrooms like the two large buildings outside Cooper Elementary.

"The kids have to physically leave the main structure in the building and walk over to the portable classrooms."

Another safety concern for Joe.

"In an incident where you have a threat to students, if they're in a lockdown, the building inside is locked down, you have a much harder time locking down a portable classroom."

The bond election has three questions - safety and security changes are tied to the first one, which has to pass in order for the second two to be able to pass.

The cost for the first question is $114 Million Dollars. If all questions are passed, the total would be $123 million - an increase for taxpayers of $9.88 for a $100,000 home.

Early voting for the bond issue goes through Saturday February 17, with the official voting day on Tuesday February 20th.

You can find more information on the bond, and voting locations here:
Derby bond issue voting.