Plan B Networks Inc. President Brian Ainsworth updated the Española School Board Feb. 19 on the status of the phones and security cameras at the 13 school sites in the Española School District.
Problems, he said, were being found in how cameras and phones were installed and how much the installer, Harmonix Technologies, charged the District over the past few years.
“You’ve got a security camera system that you were oversold, you were ripped off,” he said. “You name it, it happened to you.”
At Española Middle School, for example, Ainsworth said his company has fixed all the cameras that can be operational, leaving 21 that are missing key components.
“You have 21 cameras that are not up,” he said. “You were wronged by the previous installer.”
The reason the cameras are not operational, he said, is because each was installed with a power brick to make them run. All the power bricks have since gone missing.
The Board approved a contract with Plan B in October to fix some of the issues with the security cameras, after malfunctioning cameras failed to capture multiple copper wire thefts at Alcalde Elementary. The contract had the District paying Plan B $4,500 per month.
Initially, Ainsworth and his team fixed the issues with Alcalde’s cameras, but soon ran into other problems.
“About a week and half ago, (Facilities Manager Aaron Aragon) called me and said all the cameras at Alcalde are down,” he said. “All your licenses are expired.”
Ainsworth said reoccurring issues have made it difficult to make any serious progress with the security systems.
“We’re trying, but there’s a lot of roadblocks that we’re running into,” he said.
District officials are also trying to handle problems with the phone system. Four to five phones were stolen at multiple school sites, which Superintendent Bobbie Gutierrez said created some confusion.
“It was strategic,” she said. “We had four separate law enforcement reports and they didn’t rise to the level to make the insurance claims.”
Ainsworth said eight more phones at the Middle School still are not operational.
Board President Yolanda Salazar said issues with Harmonix contracts date back to when former board member Pablo Lujan was president.
Lujan did not return requests for comment.
“There was a prior majority board with different intentions,” Salazar said, not elaborating what the supposed intentions were.
However, more money was approved to be spent on Harmonix while Salazar, Board Vice President Ruben Archuleta and Board Secretary Gilbert Serrano made up a majority bloc than in any previous year.
Records show the District agreed to a $581,000 contract with Harmonix in October 2017. At that time, the state Public Education Department had stripped the Board of its financial authority.
Ainsworth told the Board they had an overabundance of cameras placed in non-strategic positions. He said rearranging existing cameras to different locations would be the most cost-effective strategy for the District.
“Please do it that way,” he said. “If not, you’ll get taken to the cleaners again.”
The Board approved an additional $8,000 to Plan B’s existing contract and asked Ainsworth to prepare bids to fix the phone systems.
Jack Vigil, CEO and president of Harmonix, did not return multiple requests for comment before press time.