Mecklenburg County Commissioners approve of security upgrade plans for CMS

CMS Approves Added Security Measures

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - After some questioning but no serious debate, county leaders voted Tuesday night to follow through with their plan to provide millions of dollars to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools for security upgrades.

Earlier this year the Mecklenburg County Commissioners decided to set aside $9M for the security overall. The plan was broken down into two phases. Each was slated to cost $4.5M. The commissioners agreed Tuesday to release the second sum of $4.5M to CMS after hearing more about the school system’s security plan from district superintendent Dr. Clayton Wilcox.

Wilcox spoke briefly about the plan at Tuesday night’s meeting of the board. The plan is already underway and includes the installation of new surveillance video equipment in schools as well as the introduction of panic card alarms for school system employees.

“There are a lot of issues that keep me awake at night I will tell you, but the idea of school safety for 150,000 young people and 19,000 employees is probably the heaviest burden I wear as a superintendent,” explained Wilcox.

Several commissioners had questions for Wilcox Tuesday night. Commissioner Bill James asked about the surveillance equipment being installed in schools.

“What kind of video surveillance cameras and systems are you using?” questioned James.

Wilcox explained to the elected leaders that many of the old analog cameras were being replaced with digital cameras so their images can be viewed with more clarity.

Commissioner Pat Cotham questioned why a consultant was used in the process of deciding on security upgrades for the district.

“We want to be able to look the parents in the eyes and say we got professional help so I just ask that you keep that in mind,” Cotham told the superintendent Tuesday night.

Wilcox explained to Cotham that he thought a consultant would make suggestions similar to the plans they already ad in place. He said he would consider bringing in a consultant after CMS makes it’s own improvements first.

The commissioners vote to release the funding to CMS was unanimous.

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