Pitt Co. Schools making improvements with grant, red light camera money

School Watch

Pitt County Schools is set to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars using a state grant and fines from Greenville’s red light camera systems.

This week, Pitt County Schools was granted 460,000 dollars to go toward school resources officers.

The school board is set to match half that amount, bringing the total to nearly 700,000 dollars per year for the next two years.

Superintendent Dr. Ethan Lenker said they hope to make changes immediately.

Lenker said his team is already working with law enforcement agencies from Bethel to Grifton.

“We will start looking at the schools that are in the most need based on location, is obviously a pretty important thing,” said Lenker. “Other areas of how far they are from other police stations and things like that.”

The second round of money comes from fines of Greenville’s red light camera system.     

For months the funds were held up due to a previous lawsuit.

With the lawsuit dropped, more than 550,000 dollars is at the school boards disposal.

The school board has already put about 200,000 dollars to use.

That leaves more than half still in the bank.

Lenker said, “We have computers that are in our teacher’s hands that are 6, 7, 8 years old.”

Greenville’s red light cameras rolled out in November of last year.

Between its start in November to May, The Greenville Police Department said more than 11,000 tickets have been issued.

At 100 dollars apiece, that’s more than 1.1 million dollars.

“The board made it clear that we are going to look at technology options and school safety issues,” said Lenker.

Pitt County Schools received about 550,000 of that total.

So far, about half has been used for teacher computers.

“We started a rotation of teacher computers five years ago,” said Lenker. “We actually had to skip a year because we didn’t have the money so this year we are able to do last year and this year so we’re in a cycle. This is going to affect teachers all in Pitt County.”

Lenker said new software for exceptional student classrooms won’t run on the current computers.

“We’re going to spend this next year updating all of their computers,” said Lenker. “And that’s another 200 hundred and something computers we are going to have to buy.”

From there, Lenker said they’ll fund requests from teachers. They are also known as Impact Venture Grants.

The requests look to impact specific classrooms with custom needs.

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