Proposition S.O.S. (Secure Our Students)-Overview
The Aurora R-VIII Board of Education approved a resolution during the January 22, 2021 meeting to place an issue involving no tax increase on the April 6, 2021 ballot. If approved by voters, this initiative will allow the Aurora R-VIII School District to bond $7.7 million dollars to add safety/security measures and provide renovations for all of the District’s facilities.
This process began through the formation of a facility committee during the 2019-2020 school year to advise the District regarding the needs of each school. Surveys completed by parents and staff confirmed the committee’s recommendations regarding areas to be addressed. Based on this information and discussion among the Board of Education, a list was completed directly relating to the amount included on the proposition.
The main area of focus regarding the issue is student safety. For this reason, Proposition S.O.S. (Secure Our Students) was developed as the name of the initiative. The security measures include both access/entryway control of buildings to deter anyone who may have plans of harming students, as well as, providing safe cover in times of inclement weather.
The plan also involves renovations to make the entryways at Robinson School and Aurora Junior High more secure. Currently, visitors are allowed into the buildings after being viewed through cameras without direct eye contact by building personnel. Because of this, it is more difficult to ensure protection for students. If the issue passes, the reconfigured entryways will require visitors to enter the office space first which allows building personnel to interact with the people coming into the facility.
Severe weather shelters have been included in plans for Pate Early Childhood Center, Robinson School and Aurora Junior High. These shelters will be built to standards contained in the new ICC 500 directives in order to withstand storms that would put students at risk. Besides providing an area to shelter-in place, the buildings will allow for additional cafeteria space, room for indoor recess and a commons area for group meetings or instruction.
Other items contained in the issue include facility updates to Pate Early Childhood Center, Robinson School and Aurora Junior High; HVAC reconfiguration at Pate Early Childhood Center to make the flow of heating/cooling more consistent; roofing projects at selected buildings; water infiltration issues at the High School; and a card access system for all buildings.
Safety and security of students is vital in today’s world. Incidents which were rarely seen and previously hard to imagine seem to occur more often. This summary is informational in nature and provided to allow parents and patrons to make informed decisions regarding the issue.