The Mabel-Canton School District is stepping up efforts to provide increased school security.

At Tuesday's meeting of the Mabel-Canton School Board, the board discussed improvements to the camera system, including three additional cameras and an overall quality upgrade to the existing camera system.

"We're looking at an improvement in the whole system. There are different price levels, but there are also differences in the quality of the picture. Right now I wouldn't say ours is real high quality," said Superintendent Michael Moriarty.

Principal Jeff Nolte has been working on pricing for the proposed upgrades, which will cost the district between $8,500 and $12,500.

"We want to get the most quality we can for the dollar," said Moriarty.

Controlled entry

In a related matter, the board discussed other possible security improvements in the form of a controlled entry system, where all school doors would be locked and entrants to the building would need to be "buzzed" in.

Board Member Jane Hall and Board Chair Mary Pat Kuhn said they would not be in favor of such a measure.

Board Member Chris Loppnow agreed.

"It's so drastic. Not that I don't want it to be safe, but all of us inside the building need to do what we need to be doing, like making sure the doors are not being propped open," said Loppnow, adding security policies are already in effect, they just need to be enforced.

Board Member Dave Swenson said he doesn't think a buzz-in system is the answer.

"I guess if they want to get in, they'll get in. I don't feel people are ready to lock it (the school) up and have to get buzzed in," said Swenson.

Board Member Troy Soiney said he has received the same response among people he has surveyed about the idea.

"It would change the society of our school," said Soiney.

Moriarty said a buzzer security system would cost the district around $2,500 and could be purchased at any time down the road.

"We have a fairly healthy fund balance and $2,500 isn't going to break the district," he said.

No action was taken on the matter at that time.

Early retirement

In other matters, the board approved retirement requests from teachers Bonnie Wenthold, Dennis Rud and Holly Becker.

"And we thank them for all of their years of service to our school," said Hall.

The board also approved a motion to extend the early retirement offer to May 1, after receiving some information that an additional individual, who is qualified to take early retirement, may be interested if the deadline were extended.

The board also accepted the resignation of Nicolette TerBeest.

Early childhood fees

The board also approved increases to early childhood tuition rates for next year.

The two-day rate will increase from $60 to $65, and the three-day rate will increase from $95 to $100 per month.

"Our expenses are increasing and we have been at these rates for the last four or five years," said Moriarty.

Moriarty added there are scholarships available for those who cannot afford the increases.