Resolution of the Board of Education on Reimbursement of Local Funds Expended for Purchase and Installation of Facial and Object Recognition System

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Smart Schools Project Timeline

  • December 14, 2012 

    • Sandy Hook Elementary School, in Newtown, Connecticut, tragedy occurred. Twenty-six people were shot and killed by a 20-year-old male when he gained entry to the elementary school. Find out more information.

    Winter 2013 

    • The District Insurance Broker, Evans Agency, introduced Lockport City School District to Tony Olivo of Corporate Screening & Investigative Group.

    • Tony Olivo’s company was offering security and safety risk assessments for each of our district buildings at no charge to the district. The BOE facilities committee accepted the free risk assessment. 

      • Corporate Screening and Investigative Group LLC is a comprehensive Risk Management and Investigative Consultancy comprised of former Law Enforcement and Risk Management Professionals. CSI Group LLC provides the highest quality, professional services to their Corporate, Legal, Education, and Healthcare clients.

    November 2014

    • NYS voters pass the Smart Schools Bond Act (SSBA)– Lockport’s Allocation of $4,274,931

    • Six areas the money could be spent on: 

      • School Connectivity - LCSD chose this category using $200,000 of the district allocation.

      • Community Connectivity

      • Learning Technology

      • Pre-Kindergarten Classrooms

      • Replacing Transportable Classrooms

      • High Tech Security – LCSD chose this category using $3,810,833 of the district allocation to strengthen security and safety concerns identified in the risk assessment report from Corporate Screening Consultants.

    December 2014 

    • The Facilities Committee of the Board of Education sought proposals to conduct an SSBA (Smart Schools Bond Act) Project Study – ECC Technologies submitted a proposal and was ultimately chosen to do the study.

      • ECC Technologies is a broadband, technology, and security consulting firm providing specialized services to private and municipal customers. 

    • ECC Technologies began work in conjunction with the district architect Trautman Associates.

    July 2015

    • Beta Test done by SN Technologies and Corporate Screening & Investigative Group at Lockport High School using the SN Tech software and various guns in consultation with local law enforcement

    • SN Tech is a company that strives to provide unique and enhanced solutions that deliver unparalleled safety and security for customers.

    • SN Technologies provides businesses with facial, pattern, and shape recognition software that identifies faces, patterns, and shapes.

    August 17, 2016

    September 2016

    • Smart School Bond Act application submitted

    • After nine months of waiting for SSBA approval from SED, the BOE Facilities Committee began to think of other ways to get the SN Tech software up and running in Lockport High School. Security and Safety were a priority for the committee.

    June 2017 

    • The Audit Committee of the Board of Education at the request of the Board of Education Facilities Committee authorized the usage of funds to cover the cost for one year of the SN Tech Product known as AEGIS while waiting for approval from SSBA.

      • AEGIS - to shield and protect from danger attributable to mass shootings, terrorism, industrial espionage, violent crime, shoplifting,
        employee theft, senior care, child exploitation, and identity theft affect schools, hospitals, retailers, casinos, and law enforcement.

      • AEGIS is a suite of security designed to interact with your current CCTV network and is agnostic to camera brands. The Aegis suite of applications includes:

        • SENTRY - A facial recognition tool that operates “on the fly” with incredible accuracy. It creates alerts in real-time to ensure that only those who should be there, are there. It can identify trespassers, banned individuals or known threats.

        • Protector - A shape recognition tool that will alert security or police any time a gun is in hand – semi-automatic and revolver handguns, pump shotguns and an AR 15 type rifle.

        • Mercury - A forensic search engine that will be able to quickly review videos unattended and search for specific people to assist investigators and police, freeing up resources to do more valuable investigative work.

    • Purchase order generated to Corporate Screening and Investigative Group, LLC for $95,750 dated 6/23/17

    • Payment made on this PO to Corporate Screening and Investigative Group for $41,650 dated 7/10/17 to order the server/software

    November 2017 

    • SSBA project approved

    • Final payment made on this PO for $54,100 dated 12/18/17

    February 2018

    • The Board of Education passed a resolution to standardize the software, requiring bidders to use the AEGIS software in bids for security gear at all other Lockport Schools. 

    March 2018

    June 2019

    • The district received the first reimbursement for the SSBA project totaling $185,874.03.

    September 2019

    • The State Department of Education asked the district to delay installing the AEGIS software system while addressing questions about the softwares use and scope concerning privacy concerns of students. The district delayed the launch date to June 2020.

    November 2019

    • The district received the second reimbursement for the SSBA project, totaling $2,680,520.00. This reimbursement included the AEGIS software product.

    January 2020 

    • LCSD announced to the community/parents that they will begin using the AEGIS software for facial recognition and gun protection. They assured the community that absolutely no student's pictures would be put in the system to address the privacy concerns.

    January 2020

    • The district developed more stringent policies narrowing down what images would be kept in the database. Policy # 5685

    June 2020

    • Parents and the community continued to raise additional concerns, and the launch date for AEGIS was again put on hold.

    • The New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) filed suit against the New York State Education Department, petitioning the Albany County Supreme Court to find that state ed’s approval of the Lockport camera system violated state education privacy laws, by improperly using student data, and the approval should be overturned. NYCLU’s petition was co-signed by four Lockport district parents. The state banned the district from using the software.

    December 22, 2020 - Assembly Bill A6787D

    • Directs the commissioner of education to conduct a study on the use of biometric identifying technology; prohibits the use of biometric identifying technology in schools until July 1, 2022 or until the commissioner authorizes such purchase or utilization, whichever occurs later. 

    April 2022

    • The district received the third reimbursement for the SSBA project, totaling $269,605.00.

    July 2023

    • The district submitted a claim to be reimbursed for the rest of the $4,274,931 total cost of the facial recognition system - $835,854.51. As of 9/28/23, the state said that they are behind and have not yet reviewed our claim.

    September 27, 2023

    • New York State Department of Education Commissioner Betty A. Rosa issued a determination that lifted the nearly three-year ban on the use of biometric technologies in both public and private K-12 schools in effect from December 2020. Read more about it here.

     

Questions & Answers

  • What is the Smart Schools Bonds Act and how does this program work?

  • What was the total amount of the Smart Schools Bonds Act allocation that was provided to the district by the State of New York?

  • What year did we receive this allocation?

  • What did the district spend its total allocation on?

  • Does the district have any remaining allocation available from its original allocation that it could still access? If so, how much?

  • Has the district received reimbursement from the State for the funds that were spent? If so, how much has been reimbursed?

  • Was the district reimbursed for the money that it spent on the Video Surveillance and Video Analytics system?

  • Does the district still utilize the Video Surveillance and Video Analytics system?

  • Does the district plan to utilize the Video Surveillance and Video Analytics system in the future?

  • Was the district audited by the NYS Comptroller’s Office as a result of the procurement of the facial recognition system purchase? If so what were their findings?