Vance County Schools upgrading school security

Aug. 12, 2014 @ 03:08 PM

Vance County schools are scheduled for some last-minute security updates before students return.

Kevin Perdue, district director of maintenance, told members of the Vance County Board of Education on Monday that panic buttons are being installed in every school.

He said the district is still waiting on the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction’s building study, a project that started in February too audit the best way to use school facilities.

The study wrapped up in May, and Perdue told the building and grounds committee in April to expect the results as soon as they were done.

Chairwoman Gloria White said the board had waited long enough to receive the state’s feedback.

“We have the money to go ahead and get things done,” she said. “We can’t keep sitting back and holding our hands and waiting for it to get done.”

Perdue said he expects results back by the board’s September meeting.

White said the board would have to move forward with security and facility inspections without the state after next month.

Also during the meeting, district director of child nutrition Phyllis Newcomb explained her recommendation to disqualify R&H Produce’s bid to serve Vance County Schools this year.

North Carolina Child Nutrition Procurement Alliance’s board of directors investigated the company’s $86,000 bid in June and found inconsistencies in its numbers.

Newcomb said the company had secured special pricing during the week of the bidding process, bringing some of its prices down almost 50 percent lower on select items compared to the other bidders.

Foster-Caviness Produce Co., also a bidder, brought the complaint to state, who asked the company to breakdown and explain its costs.

Newcomb said R&H Produce admitted to using misleading numbers in its bid, which could have inflated the cost of produce — now paid for by the state through a program for low-income school districts — throughout the year.

“I am fearful of what the future will bring if we stay with this,” she said.

The board revoked its original plan to work with the company, approving a $96,000 bid for Foster-Caviness Produce Co. instead.

Also during Monday’s meeting, the board approved:

• An application seeking state approval to extend the testing window for end-of-grade exams.

• Personnel committee recommendations, including 13 new positions, seven reinstatements and eight resignations.

• Five out-of-county transfers.

 

Contact the writer at dhairston@hendersondispatch.com.