The entrances of Roseville Community Schools buildings were already getting upgrades thanks to a bond proposal that was passed in the spring. Now, the doors will be further upgraded with remote locks, labels for first responders, door sensors and upgraded key cards for staff.

The entrances of Roseville Community Schools buildings were already getting upgrades thanks to a bond proposal that was passed in the spring. Now, the doors will be further upgraded with remote locks, labels for first responders, door sensors and upgraded key cards for staff.

Photo by Deb Jacques


Roseville Community Schools receives state safety grant

By: Brendan Losinski | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published November 14, 2018

 A new grant provided by the state of Michigan will allow Roseville Community Schools to expand many of its safety measures, including both interior and exterior cameras, door locks and door sensors.

A new grant provided by the state of Michigan will allow Roseville Community Schools to expand many of its safety measures, including both interior and exterior cameras, door locks and door sensors.

Photo by Deb Jacques

ROSEVILLE — Roseville Community Schools will be making further upgrades to school security in all 10 buildings in the district thanks to a state grant.

The school district was awarded a grant in the amount of $243,078 from the state of Michigan’s 2018 Competitive School Safety Grant Program. The money comes from the Michigan State Police, which has awarded $25 million to schools across the state, with a focus on providing a more secure environment for students, staff and parents.

“There’s three main components (we will be using these funds for),” said Mark Blaszkowski, the Roseville Community Schools deputy superintendent. “One is door monitoring systems, which notifies us when a door is open or left open. The second is emergency locking systems on certain doors that will be able to be closed quickly and remotely from the office. Third, we want to label certain doors so first responders can better gain access and more quickly orient themselves. … The locks will all lock people out; they still have to be able to open from the inside for fire code and fire safety reasons.”

The grant also will allow the district to increase installation of card readers at exterior entryways.

“This will reduce the use of keys that can create a security risk, if lost or stolen, and give the ability to deny access using software and key cards instead of traditional keys,” Blaszkowski added.

Roseville Community Schools could apply for either a matching grant or a nonmatching grant, and Roseville was awarded the highest amount in the nonmatching funds grant category of all Macomb County recipients.

Blaszkowski and Coordinator of Transportation and Maintenance Joe Smith were the administrators who applied for the grant and oversaw the application.

“We started on this grant application in September, almost at the deadline,” said Smith. “I told our superintendent that this was something we could do that would help. I don’t think you can ever totally prevent an active shooter, but we should do everything we can to try and prevent it. … They told us Oct. 31 that we were going to receive the grant money.”

Nancy Becker Bennett, the Michigan State Police grants and community services division director, told Roseville Community Schools that its project was one of 188 selected for funding.

“Requests for the 2018 CSSGP exceeded $69 million, which made for very difficult decisions by the review committee,” Becker wrote.

The review committee that decided the distribution of the grants included representation from the Michigan State Police, the Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police, the Michigan Sheriffs’ Association, the Michigan Department of Education, the Michigan Association of Non-public Schools and the Executive Office of the Governor.

One of the stipulations on the grant money is that the projects using the funds must be completed in less than a year.

“We only have a year to implement our plan, which makes this a pretty intense project. We need to work on 10 different buildings,” Blaszkowski said. “Sept. 30, 2019, is the deadline to complete these projects. We are already meeting on it, so we are working with our construction manager, who is currently working on our bond work. They have already done some research so we can start looking at bids for the equipment and for crews to do the work.”

This grant will supplement a $59.4 million, 26-year bond that was approved by voters in May. That bond will levy 2.5 mills in 2018 and will go toward technology and school safety improvements. Blaszkowski said this grant will allow the district to install and upgrade far more security measures than the bond money would have allowed.

“This is completely above and beyond what the bond would have covered,” he remarked. “The security upgrades from the bond will be focusing on upgrading entranceways, a new camera system and increasing the number of both interior and exterior cameras, increasing the amount of keyless entry units, which will reduce the amount of keys that need to be replaced if there is a potential breach, and we are looking to enhance the (public address) system in all the classrooms, which also would allow teachers to alert the office if there’s a problem. This grant, on the other hand, will allow us to focus on systems not possible through the bond.”

School administrators believe the new safety additions will mean tangible and substantial improvements to student safety.

“I think the biggest part of this is having greater control over lockdown procedures. We can know immediately that all doors are locked, and if there’s a problem, we know exactly where,” said Smith. “This will save the district money and possibly save lives. Putting numbering and signs on the doors will mean being able to directly tell paramedics or other emergency crews where to go and help them find their way around if they are not familiar with a school building.”

Given the ongoing crisis of violence in schools, Blaszkowski said school safety has to be a top priority for all school districts.

“This is a great opportunity for us to provide the latest in technology for safety, and without the grant we wouldn’t be able to do that,” said Blaszkowski. “I appreciate the state of Michigan providing us with that grant and allowing us to do this within our schools. … Student safety is our No. 1 priority, and we need to provide students with a safe environment so they can focus on their education. Obviously, we need to keep students safe in today’s world, and that means using new technologies to do that.”