School to receive security upgrade

October 21, 2018 GMT

DIXON – The School Board recently signed off on spending more than $100,000 to beef up security at Dixon High School as part of recommendations made following the May school shooting.

Plans are to nearly double the number of security cameras throughout the school this fall, going from 39 to 70.

The upgrades and 31 new cameras will cost $117,816.07 and be paid for with the district’s tort fund, which can be used for security improvements.

“We knew we needed to expand our coverage area as a part of school security,” Superintendent Margo Empen said.

She said they worked with high school resource officer Mark Dallas, Lee County Sheriff John Simonton and Dixon Police Sgt. Mike Wolfley, who mapped out gaps in the security coverage inside and outside of the building.

Empen said the district has been looking at adding security cameras since last year, but the May 16 school shooting reinforced their efforts.

That morning, 19-year-old senior Matthew A. Milby Jr. opened fire inside the high school with a 9mm semi-automatic rifle as he was heading toward the gym, which was filled with about 180 seniors rehearsing for graduation.

Milby took off running when confronted by Dallas, who shot him in the upper shoulder and hip. No one else was injured.

Also at Wednesday’s school board meeting, Kevin Schultz, director of building and grounds, announced that the district won a $154,000 grant from ComEd because of energy efficiency upgrades with new LED lighting and geothermal heating and cooling at Jefferson Elementary School and DHS.

“The grant was awarded because of our energy saving upgrades the schools have implemented,” Empen said.

The district will receive the grant after the projects are finished, she said.

The money will then go into the districts operations and maintenance funds for future improvements.

About $40,000 will be allocated for Jefferson, and the rest will be used at the high school.