Leaders of the area Public Building Authority are accusing the Knox County Schools chief and school board members of misleading the public about the state of security systems in at least two schools and putting taxpayers at financial risk.
School officials Saturday, however, disputed PBA members’ assertions.
At a meeting Tuesday, PBA’s board of directors asked attorney Morris Kizer to draft a statement notifying Knox County Commission, Mayor Tim Burchett and the public that the school system’s statements about the state of security systems at the two schools were at best misleading and at worst untrue.
The move comes amid growing concerns over school security systems that began when PBA discovered all manner of woes with systems installed at Hardin Valley Academy and Powell Middle School.
PBA’s 2008 discovery led to an independent audit in 2011 that revealed unsafe wiring, codes violations, fire wall intrusions, missing motion detectors and non-working cameras, among other things. PBA sued the firm responsible, Professional Security Consultants & Design.
The News Sentinel obtained the audit by Stansell Electric last month and reported on a personal relationship between PSCD’s owner and Schools Security Chief Steve Griffin, who has since been placed on leave and is under probe. In the wake of the newspaper’s reporting, Schools Superintendent Dr. Jim McIntyre and Board Chairwoman Karen Carson held a news conference Feb. 2 assuring parents that although PSCD did not deliver the “quantity and quality” of equipment and installation services promised, all systems — fire protection, burglar alarms and video monitoring — were “functioning properly.”
McIntyre has repeatedly said the school system’s new security monitoring firm had “identified deficiencies” in all schools and made repairs.
However, the Knox County Law Department last week confirmed to the PBA that no repairs have been made at Hardin Valley or Powell Middle aside from fire wall intrusions that PBA ordered fixed in 2008.