Mecklenburg County Commissioners Want Answers About School Crisis Alert System Failures

CHARLOTTE, NC – A million dollar security upgrade to Charlotte Mecklenburg schools isn’t working. Now, county commissioners are demanding answers.

“Some heads need to roll,” said District 2 Commissioner Vilma Leake.

She says she is upset and without answers following a joint meeting with the Charlotte Mecklenburg School Board.

“You got what we got. nothing,” said Leake, “and I think the board owes us an explanation,” said Leake.

The crisis alert system installed in high schools over the last year does not work properly. The district has known about it for a while.

“We have not been able to resolve the issues despite repeated intensive testing,” said Earnest Winston, the Superintendent of Schools.

The system is supposed to allow employees to trigger an alarm by pressing a button on a card they carry with their badges. It can send school-wide alerts for lockdowns, evacuations, and severe weather.

A warning light in each classroom flash a different color depending on the level of emergency. The district admitted two weeks ago that it isn’t working.

“This has been both frustrating and disappointing,” said Winston.

So far the county commission has allocated $1.1 million dollars for the school board to use on the crisis alert system, which was installed in about 30 schools. Plans to outfit more schools are on hold.

“This is unfair to the general public,” said Leake, “taxpayers who’s paying for security which were not getting.”

Winston says the company, Centegix, out of Atlanta has until February 10th to deliver on what it promised. If not, Winston says the district will work to recover some of the money spent and go another direction.