CMS says million-dollar security upgrade doesn’t work

CMS says million-dollar security upgrade doesn?t work

MECKLENBURG COUNTY, N.C. — The Charlotte-Mecklenburg school district announced Friday morning a major security upgrade that it spent more than $1 million on doesn’t work.

Superintendent Earnest Winston said the district has been doing intense testing of the system and wanted to be transparent about what’s going on.

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“At school, we found that the system didn’t perform as promised and it did not perform consistently. In other words, we had a system that did not work well all of the time and didn’t work at all some of the time,” said Winston.

The alert is triggered using a panic card that trained staff members have.

It sends out school-wide alerts lighting up a button in different colors associated with the type of emergency, whether it is medical, weather or a safety threat.

CMS has spent $1.3 million on the crisis alert system, so far.

“We have a substantial investment in it, more than $1 million with more than another half-million (dollars) expected by the vendor,” Winston said. “Moreover, this system was installed with funds from our partners at the county.”

Winston said if the system is not fixed by Feb. 10, he plans to end the relationship with the company and will try to get the money back.

“It's really important that we do have systems in place that are going to work for one, and that we can feel confident that if something, God forbid happens, we can trust in it, and it’s disappointing that we’ve spent so much money on something that is not effective.”

The problem will be fixed, he said.

Winston said the vendor was selected before he became superintendent, and he was not part of the decision-making process.

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