Oct. 27—New security software approved by the Cullman County Board of Education will soon be leveraging the power of artificial intelligence to ensure a safer environment for students and a more streamlined process for administrators.
During a special called board meeting on Wednesday, Aug. 25, the CCBOE approved a five year $96,245 contract with Spot.ai, a technology company specializing in AI powered video surveillance systems. Superintendent Shane Barnette said the contract will allow the district's approximate 800 existing security cameras to be integrated into the company's software and for any outdated cameras to be replaced at no additional cost. Cameras will also be able to be replaced at any point during the five-year term. After implementing the software, the bulk of the district's cameras will be replaced periodically during a two-year timeframe.
One of the primary benefits of the new software will be the integration of a centralized hub which may be accessed by any approved administrator via either a desktop or mobile app. Realtime footage is also able to be shared quickly with law enforcement officers in the event of an incident occurring on campus.
"If somebody were responding to an incident at one of our schools, I would be able to send them this link so they could pull up a video. Every one of our cameras across every one of our schools will be on one platform. So, I could go into my office and see the front door of every school constantly rotating," Barnette said.
Media and Communications Specialist Ty Watwood told the board he believed the software would create a much more streamlined and intuitive system for administrators who can sometimes spend hours trying to locate a particular piece of footage. He said the new system can be tailored to fit specific needs such as searching for individuals wearing a certain color clothing or particular movements. Preventative actions can also be created and assigned to send alerts to principals if cameras detect suspicious activity within designated areas.
"Our principals spend a lot of time trying to find a problem on the camera because it's old-school scrolling, trying to find something," Watwood said. "I think this is going to take a lot of time back for them."
Watwood said Spot.ai will also offer training for employees who will be using the system for no additional fees and have even offered to provide in-person sessions upon request.
In other business, as part of the prerequisites for qualified candidates entering the 2024 superintendent race, the board approved the 2025 salary schedule assigned to the position. Candidates are required to pay a 2% qualifying fee of the position's salary to their respective parties before being deemed eligible.
For candidates with no prior superintendent experience the salary schedule is:
* 0-3 years administrative experience — $77,974 with MS degree, $84099 with EDS degree and $90,180 with DR degree
* 4-6 years administrative experience — $96,344 with MS degree, $103,912 with EDS degree and $111,425 with DR degree
* 7-9 years administrative experience — $103,284 with MS degree, $111,396 with EDS degree and $119,451 with DR degree
* 10+ years administrative experience — $126,026 with MS degree, $135,924 with EDS degree and $145,753 with DR degree
For candidates with prior superintendent experience the salary schedule is:
* 1-4 years superintendent experience — $140,000 with MS degree, $150,000 with EDS degree and $180,000 with DR degree
* 5-7 years superintendent experience — $160,000 with MS degree, $170,000 with EDS degree and $180,000 with DR degree
* 8+ years superintendent experience — $170,000 with
MS degree, $180,000 with EDS degree and $190,000 with DR
In other business the board:
* Approved the following voluntary transfers: Dr. Kellie Tanner — from Hanceville Middle School Principal to Central Office school improvement/EL coordinator; Carrie Morrow — from Hanceville Elementary school teacher to Good Hope Middle School assistant principal/teacher; and Keisha Wright — from Hanceville Elementary School child nutrition program assistant manager to Hanceville High School child nutrition program assistant manager.
* Approved the conditional employment of the following personnel: Bobby Daniels — Vinemont Hight School part-time physical education teacher; Christa Hale — Vinemont High School child nutrition program worker; Anna Calvert — West Point Elementary part-time intervention teacher; and Shelia Welborn — West Point Elementary part-time intervention teacher.
* Approved a request from Vinemont Middle School to pay Preston Boyd, Lance Lay and Kerry Thompson $400 for refinishing the middle school gym floor.
* Approved a request to pay Jena Mayo a stipend of $2,532 for managing districtwide robotics teams during the 2023-2024 school year.
* Approved a request for the Maintenance Department to purchase new software the place of the existing SchoolDude software.
* Approved a request from the Technology Department to purchase a 2024 Ford Transit 150 Cargo Van for $55,731.