Wednesday, June 12, 2024

GISD implements new silent panic alarm system


As early as this summer, Granbury Independent School District will be implementing a new silent panic alarm system to ensure the safety of staff and students.

On May 5, 2023, Texas Senate Bill 838/HB 669 — also known as Alyssa’s Law — was passed in Texas. This bill requires school districts and open-enrollment charter schools to install silent panic alert technology in classrooms by the start of the 2025-26 school year. According to the Raptor Technologies website, the technology must allow for immediate contact with district or school emergency services and agencies, law enforcement agencies, health departments and fire departments.

“This is a requirement from the state of Texas,” GISD Chief of Security Wade Clark said during a school board meeting May 20. “Every school district has to have this system in place. When this first came out, we started researching what our options were.”

Clark said several schools were using the Raptor program, which was already a vendor for the district. He said it was a “fairly affordable option,” and the Texas Education Agency responded that the system met all the criteria for the senate bill.

However, Clark said he was later informed by the state that Raptor met the criteria — as long as it was not used on a personally owned device.

"I imagine that's because they had some pushback, where some people probably didn't want to put an app on their personally owned device," he said. “So, they said, ‘You can still use Raptor as your option if you provide all your employees with a (district-owned device),’ which is cost prohibitive. The search began for what now meets the criteria and is a good product.”

Assistant Chief of Security Jon Mueller and Clark met with several Texas school districts to see what kind of systems they had in place.

Once the bidding process began, vendors were asked to provide a line-item bid, based on a list of specs provided by the TEA that was compliant with both the safety grant and GISD. A total of 440 vendors were invited to bid and 12 responded.

After careful consideration of the 12 submissions through the bidding process, Director of Technology Brent Wilson, Purchasing Assistant Bradee Watson, Mueller and Clark narrowed it down to three companies to demonstrate the product: Crisisgo, Visual Techniques Inc, and Cloud Ingenuity.

Following demonstrations from all three companies, Clark and his team recommended awarding the purchase of Silent Panic Alert Technology (SPAT) to Cloud Ingenuity LLC for $219,561.54. The pricing includes hardware, licensing and installation.

“They were all pretty similar in cost, as far as the initial upfront, turnkey price between $200,000 up to about $280,000. This one was square in the middle,” Clark said. “But the cost over 10 years, this product was the clear winner by far. It had a good reputation. The people that we checked with that were using the system were happy with the system. I leaned heavily on Brent because of the technology pieces of this application, and this was the clear winner in our opinion.”

Clark said the purchase of this system is funded by a state of Texas grant specifically allocated for SPAT for Granbury ISD. The service would be for a one-year term, expiring July 2025.

“They've assured us that if we approve this, and we move forward with it, we'll have this installed and ready for us to train staff when they return August 1,” he said.

Secretary Billy Wimberly then made a motion to approve Cloud Ingenuity LLC as the provider for the silent panic alarm system and for it to be installed at Granbury ISD. Place 2 Trustee Nancy Alana seconded the motion, and it was approved unanimously by the board.