House Bill 3, the school finance reform bill passed by the 86th Texas Legislature in June, included a school safety allotment of about $9.72 per student, which resulted in $125,000 for MISD to use for improvements, he said. These funds will be used to update entrances to all three schools, he said, although exact costs of individual projects could not be provided before press time. At both high schools, the district plans to install a security vestibule with doors near the library and a roll-down gate, buzz-in door and new attendance window in the reception area, Bullock said. A 10-foot glass wall will separate these areas from the rest of the school.
Work on the high schools will begin during the district’s holiday break, which begins Dec. 23, and be completed by the time students return to school Jan. 7, Bullock said.
“The security upgrades add an extra layer of safety and security, while still allowing the entrance to the campus to be warm and welcoming. I appreciate that the school district’s leadership and board have made safety a priority, without altering our sense of community,” MWHS Principal Ben King said in an email.
At Magnolia Junior High the district will construct a new front entrance with dual-entry doors on either side of a security window, including thicker glass and a buzzer-controlled system for the new doors, which will be run by a security guard, Bullock said. He said construction will take longer than the high school upgrades, as he anticipates needing construction permits from the city of Magnolia.
“We believe this will do what we’re trying to accomplish, which is to have secure entrances at the front of these three schools,” he said.
The district will also roll out a $140,000 GPS tracking service for its fleet vehicles and buses in January, Director of Communications Denise Meyers said.
Parents can download the MyStop app to track their child’s bus location, and MISD will be able to track vehicle maintenance needs as well as if a vehicle is in an accident, Meyers said.
“Parents will be able to see where their child is whenever they are on the bus, which can be helpful for not just safety, but also to pick their child up in cases of inclement weather,” Meyers said. “This service adds another layer of the safety upgrades we’re trying to implement.”