Sidney BOE approves bus camera purchase

By Melanie Speicher -

SIDNEY — The purchase of a new video recording system for the Sidney City Schools bus fleet was approved during Monday night’s Board of Education meeting.

The issue of needing new bus cameras was first addressed during the Nov. 21 BOE meeting. The purchase of the 19 units — which includes three cameras per bus — will cost the district $34,827. The system will be purchased from PRO-VISION Video System.

Business Operations Manager Jerry Harmon told the board that he had talked with PRO-VISION representative Greg Taylor about the concerns about the security issues raised at the previous board meeting.

“Due diligence had been done in the research (of the cameras),” said Harmon.

Taylor has visited the school district twice to discuss the cameras and to provide a demonstration and video of the product. Harmon has also talked to three districts — Miami East, Graham and Riverside — who are all using the system.

“They all gave me a big of thumbs up as they could possibly give,” said Harmon.

Harmon said the cameras have true high definition video and audio. There’s also a lifetime warranty on the SD cards. All WiFi will be shut off and if a problem arises on the bus, video from the SD card would be retrieved.

The SD card, he said, will be in a locked cage on the bus. It will also be password protected.

Two cameras will be placed inside in the bus — one at the front and the other at the back. The cameras have a zoom option which will allow the driver to focus on the middle seats if there’s a problem.

The third camera will be placed on the outside of the bus. It will record any driver who doesn’t stop if the bus arm is down.

Harmon said he had contacted other companies for quotes for the cameras.

Following a short discussion on the importance of protecting student data and records, the board approved the purchase of the cameras.

The board also approved the purchase of two school buses — one typical bus and one handicap bus — either through EPC bids or directly from the dealer at a cost not to exceed $225,000.

The base cost for a handicap bus is $100,000 while a regular bus starts at $84,000. The last time a bus was purchased was in fiscal year 2015.

The board also approved replacing the gym floor at Northwood Elementary School. Bates & Herrick Concrete, of Sidney, will do the work at a cost of $48,000.

The company will take up the old floor and dispose of it. They will then fill the floor with concrete and put a surface on it. Harmon said he is hoping the project can be completed by Jan. 3.

In other business, the board:

• Hired Ron Monroe as a on-board instructor on a one-year limited, as-needed contract at $20.09 per hour. His responsibilities will be to train other bus drivers.

• Employed Jason Miller as a substitute bus driver at $15.17 per hour and as a substitute custodian at $13.19 per hour.

• Approved the revised policies for meetings and technology privacy.

• Reappointed Bill Ankney and appointed Chip Hix to the Upper Valley Career Center Board of Education for three years beginning in January 2017. Hix will replace Paul Heins on the board as Heins declined the appointment.

• Set the annual organization meeting date for Monday, Jan. 9, at 6 p.m.

The board’s next meeting will be Monday, Dec. 19, at 6 p.m.

By Melanie Speicher

Reach the writer at 937-538-4822; follow her on Twitter @MelSpeicherSDN. Follow the SDN on Facebook,

Reach the writer at 937-538-4822; follow her on Twitter @MelSpeicherSDN. Follow the SDN on Facebook,