Rogers schools getting system to check visitors' background

NWA Democrat-Gazette/DAVE PEROZEK Margie Bowers, (left) the Rogers School District's food services director, is presented with a plaque Tuesday recognizing Rogers as a "Five to Thrive" district during a School Board meeting. The Five to Thrive campaign was developed by Arkansas No Kid Hungry partners to encourage districts to offer a variety of nutrition and physical activity programs to improve student health and academic outcomes. Rogers is one of 22 districts in the state qualified for the Five to Thrive designation by offering all five program components.

ROGERS -- The School District is adopting a security system for its schools that screens visitors and helps administrators know who's coming and going.

The School Board voted unanimously Tuesday to buy the Raptor Visitor Management System, which is used by more than 32,000 K-12 schools nationwide, according to the Raptor Technologies website.

Three Rogers schools already use the system. Heritage High School started using it three years ago and Old Wire and Darr elementary schools started using it within the past two years, said Charles Lee, assistant superintendent for general administration.

The first-year cost to implement the system for all schools will be $35,605, with an annual software fee of $13,500 for subsequent years. That money will come out of the district's operating fund, according to Jake Haak, chief financial officer.

Raptor checks a visitor's identification card against a national database for any criminal history the person might have, including whether the person is a sex offender. A visitor badge is printed for the person to wear during their visit.

Schools also can customize their database so if someone has a no-contact order connected to a particular student, the system will alert office employees if that person comes in, said Leah Padilla, Darr principal.

The system also tracks which visitors are there to volunteer, how many hours they're volunteering and what they're volunteering for, Padilla said.

Darr Elementary implemented the system at the start of this school year. Up until then, the school had used paper and pen for signing visitors in and out, she said.

Raptor should be installed in all of the district's schools by January, Lee said.

In other business, the board unanimously approved a guaranteed maximum price of $1,185,347 for site work to prepare for construction of a new competition gymnasium at Rogers High School. The site preparation is expected to begin within about two weeks, Lee said.

It's one of several athletic facility projects the district has lined up. The Rogers High gym and another gym at Heritage High are expected to be completed by November 2020. Baseball and softball fields will be built at both schools. In addition, each of the four middle schools will get all-weather tracks, and air conditioning will be installed in the gymnasiums at Elmwood and Oakdale middle schools.

NW News on 10/16/2019