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BRIDGEPORT– Bridgeport Exempted Village School District will start the 2023-24 year with some updated systems, thanks to grant funding from the state.

“We did receive a $50,000 Safety and Security grant,” Superintendent Brent Ripley said. “Our plans are to update our school public address system. It will integrate with our (key) fob system, all of our phones. It’ll give us the ability to have LED displays in our cafeteria for different safety drills. We also are going to increase the speaker output in our choir, band and small gymnasiums as well. Basically it’s going to update our current system so that it’s just 21st century ready.”

Ripley described the current, 17-year-old system as “antiquated.”

“We’re just really grateful to have that grant approved by the state so we can go ahead and purchase this and update it in the summer,” he said, adding there should be a seamless transition to the new system.

“Our goal right now is to have the work done during the summer, when kids aren’t here, and have it ready to go by the start of next school year,” Ripley said. “What they’ll notice, when the kids are playing in the band room … they’ll be able to hear announcements when band’s playing, or if they’re eating in the cafetorium with all the other kids, they’ll be able to see the display and the lights flashing and read the announcement that’s going over the PA system, if there’s an emergency protocol.”

He added the district has received three quotes so far, with prices ranging from about $40,000 to about $70,000. Ripley, the technology director and the assistant technology director are going over each of them to determine which best fits the school’s needs and budget.

“We’re going to go with the product that fits Bridgeport the best and helps us establish the safest environment possible,” he said.

In other matters, the board heard from school nurse Dana Krieter, who recommended the district reconsider its head lice policy of not allowing children with nits– or microscopic eggs– detected on hair shafts to attend school. She said the chances of spreading are miniscule, since the nits are bonded to the hair shafts. She also pointed out delays to learning caused by absences.

Ripley said the board would consider the proposal.

The board also heard from Curriculum Director Leslie Kosanovic, who reported the district had an overall score of three stars out of a potential five on the state-issued report card– a measure of meeting state standards. In Achievement, the district earned three stars; two stars in Progress; five stars in Gap Closing; two stars in Early Literacy; and four stars in Graduation Rate.

The board also entered a closed-door session near the end of the meeting to discuss “matters required to be kept confidential by federal law” and security.

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