Parents with children attending Lincoln and Mount Stuart elementary schools should feel a little more comfortable sending their children back to school in the fall.

The Ellensburg School Board in a meeting last week approved installing intercom systems at both schools.

Both schools predate contemporary security standards. Given instances at other schools, parents expect schools to be equipped with devices that enable communication between the main office and classrooms. After the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut in December 2012, district officials looked into the cost of intercom systems. It was a little bit of a sticker shock when the estimate came in at $286,000.

After further research the district found a system that could be installed for $191,163.

The current system at Lincoln involves communicating with a bell system and using different chimes to indicate different behaviors or situations. The new system places Internet devices in classrooms to provide visual and auditory alerts programmed to suit the needs of each school and allows staff to send alerts and two-way communications between the schools’ offices and other areas of the buildings.

That is a serious jump in technology.

Work to install the systems at the schools began this week and should be completed by Oct. 25.

Kudos to district officials and the school board for reviewing this need and finding a system that enhances school safety.

A schoolwide intercom system will be useful for purposes other than emergencies. This investment is needed.

Fiddlers’ growth outstrips Kittitas school facilities

It has been wonderful to have the Old Time Fiddlers Association have its annual music workshop at Kittitas Secondary School for the past 21 years, but the decision by Kittitas school officials to end the relationship is understandable.

The event has grown over the years to more than 400 people on the school grounds. As Kittitas School District Superintendent Monty Sabin pointed out. the school is not set up as as conference center.

The fiddlers are a great group to have visit the community each summer and residents enjoy attending the concerts. But the event has an impact on the Kittitas school.

Hopefully the fiddlers can find a new location in Kittitas County.


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