Despite initial concerns over a speed camera in front of Rome High School, the Rome City Schools Board of Education voted unanimously Tuesday to submit an application for placement.

The Georgia Department of Transportation issues the camera permits. The school complex is at 1000 Veterans Memorial Highway.

Before agreeing to the cameras, school board members had some debate during their 4 p.m. caucus.

“I wonder what would have happened if RedSpeed had never come along,” Chairwoman Faith Collins said “Would the police department still say they were short(staffed)?”

Rome Superintendent Lou Byars acknowledged that RedSpeed — the company that would install and monitor the devices — would make money from the speeding fines. Most of the proceeds will go to the Rome Police Department to be used for safety purposes, but RedSpeed USA will get a 35% cut.

“One of the questions I keep getting is ‘Does it target our families?’” said board member Alvin Jackson.

This also was a concern for board member Elaina Beeman at a previous meeting.

Byars said some students may be ticketed, but speeding is a safety issue.

“My thought is that if this slows people down enough to save the life of one of our students, then I want to give (RedSpeed) that opportunity,” Byars said to the board.

According to a one-day study conducted by RedSpeed USA and the Rome Police Department, 274 drivers were caught going at least 11 mph over the speed limit of 45 mph during the school zone enforcement hours.

Also on Tuesday, the school board discussed a proposed alternative discipline plan where students would stay after school for discipline instead of being suspended.

According to the draft plan, the need is due to many elementary school students receiving long-term suspensions. Snacks and dinner would be provided for the children.

Much of the concern about the plan was due to the apparent timing of the program: 2:30 to 6 p.m. for elementary school students and 3:30 to 7 p.m. for secondary school.

Collins also took issue with the cost of the program, which would include paying teachers $35 per hour for staying extra hours.

“I have a really serious problem with using the funds that we’re using,” she said “We obligated that money for a (different) purpose.”

The board decided to hold off on having the plan available for first reading until the December meeting, since the details are not final.

“This isn’t the end-all be-all,” said Byars.

The board also went into a closed session at 5:23 p.m. to discuss personnel and came out at 5:52 p.m. No action was taken.

The next meeting will be on Dec. 10.


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