Rep. Norlin Mommsen (R-DeWitt) wants to add cameras that provide a live feed to just about every public school classroom in Iowa as part of his bill, HF 2177.
While there are a number of concerns with the bill—the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and the Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA) being among them—perhaps the cherry on top is that school districts would have to figure out how to finance this measure without additional state funding.
So how much would it cost? Well, by one estimate, it could cost the annual salary of one new teacher for every school building.
Starting Line reached out to Wayne Barahona, co-owner of Super HiTech, which has locations in Orange City, Sheldon, and Sioux Center, to get a rough estimate on adding cameras to the classroom. Super HiTech provides security camera and tech services for businesses, schools, private individuals, and more in Iowa, Minnesota, and South Dakota.
It should be noted that Barahona said these figures are just a ballpark number since there is a multitude of variables that go into making a formal estimate.
Here are the specs Starting Line provided Super HiTech to get this rough estimate:
- A 40-room school building
- The school already has cameras in its halls and common areas
- Recorded footage would only be stored and maintained for two weeks
For cameras that have live video and audio capabilities, Barahona said it would be $500-$1,000 per camera. It would take two-to-three hours to install each camera and the technician is paid $20 an hour for labor. For the server and required licensure, it would be about $10,000. And at minimum, it would cost $2,000 for data storage.
Without including the cost of internet service, maintaining/replacing the cameras, servers, or related technological infrastructure, and going with the median amount for camera cost and installation time, here’s what those costs are starting to look like:
- 40 cameras at $750 apiece ($30,000)
- Server and license ($10,000)
- Data storage ($2,000)
- Camera installations at 2.5 hours per room ($2,000)
The upfront cost of installing classroom cameras in a 40-room school is about $44,000. That is $12,715 less than the average regular salary of an Iowa K-12 teacher, according to Iowa Department of Education statistics. Additionally, $44,000 is also slightly higher than the average regular salary for a new Iowa K-12 teacher, which is $43,744.
In a certain lens, it would seem the cost of installing classroom cameras to monitor Iowa teachers would come at the cost of an actual Iowa teacher per school building.
by Ty Rushing