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PA Systems

PA Systems


Q: Holly Andersen, Southwest Vermont SU asks, What office/department, in your buildings, maintains/fixes/works on the PA system?

A: Patrick Campbell, St. Johnsbury SD: In our district the tech department handles the PA system as it ties in with phone networking ect.

A: Greg Frost, Windham Central SU: It is a mix between IT and my job as the Director of Operations. I probably will fully take it over at some point. 

A: Todd Parah, Two Rivers SU: TRSU’s IT department takes care of the intercom. We use Arcomm to maintain that.

A: Danny Pickering, Kingdom East SD: Normally it is either IT or Facilities Manager / or Maintenance.  I work with IT on this because the type of communication and changes that might have to happen involves data and electrical, and if misfortune shines down on the situation, then an entire system will be needed.

A: Dylan Laflam, Lamoille North SU: The Facilities Department maintains the PA system. I often contract with Integrity Communications, who do an excellent job.

A: Shawn McNamara, Caledonia Central SU: Typically if it is an older system (speaker wire) Facilities would handle it. If you have a newer system with computer or server hookups Your I.T. Department would. "Typically" 

A: Jonathan Garthwaite, Hartford SD: Responsibility for the PA systems is shared between Facilities and IT. I manage new installations and upgrades. IT manages software and repairs to existing systems. We are currently transitioning to a system that has both local and district wide functionality. IT developed the specifications and I am managing the project.

PA Systems in Noisy Areas


Q: Tim Harte, Mill River USD:  We have been having discussions around how to get notifications to very noisy areas of the schools such as our wood shop.  Our PA system isn't heard when the machines are operating. The same with Walkie talkies.  I was wondering if you would be able to ask some other schools on how they deal with this type of situation.

A: Jamie Evans, Barre UUSD: We had this same issue years ago. We had strobe lights installed in areas such as wood shops, music/band rooms when the PA system was activated. When an announcement is made, the strobe light flashes to notify you an announcement is being made. We also learned not to install more than one strobe in the same room, because it could trigger seizure disorders for some people. 


Feel free to reach out if you have questions

A: Dylan Laflam, Lamoille North SD: One of my buildings is a tech center and we have a handful of labs that are typically running machinery that is louder than the PA system. Our PA system was relatively new (2016) and we were able to install yellow alert strobes (similar to the fire alarm) that flash when the PA system is going off. The procedure now is if anyone sees the strobe flashing to shut down all equipment and listen to the announcements (many of our safety protocols rely on announcements).   Integrity Communications did the install for us.

A: Jamey Provo, Greater Rutland County SU: Try using a vibrating pager that will send messages 

PA Systems - Noisy Areas

Staffing Shortages, Staff with Visa's


Q: Greg Harrington, Bennington Rutland SU: This is kind of a followup question I asked a while ago. I am wondering if anyone has come up with an idea that helped with finding new staff (Mostly Custodians)? Also wondering if anyone has any experience getting help that requires getting a work visa as this is a situation we are looking into.


Drug Testing

Drug Testing for Student Transport


Q: Greg Frost, Windham Central SU: I am looking to see if anyone has a transportation policy for drug and alcohol testing. Windham Central has four Subarus that transport 2-3 students per day. Most policies revolve around CDL drivers. We are looking to create a testing program similar but since our drivers aren’t governed by these rules we are making our own.

A: Jamie Smith, Essex Westford SD: EWSD does not drug test our non-CDL minivan drivers. In general we have found it generally is a hiring deterrent in a very tight labor market in a state with legal recreational cannabis for a position with a relatively low wage and less than traditional full time employment.


For risk mitigation we instead rely on our dispatcher’s training to recognize signs and symptoms of impairment, along with their personal knowledge of our mini van drivers within a system that requires face-to-face check in and out for all drivers.


I have attached our CDL driver drug & alcohol procedures, which are based on large part on the DOT’s CDL drug testing regulations.

Bell Systems

Bell Systems


Q: Glenn Scott, Rutland City Schools: We are looking to upgrade the Bell System within our High School. I'm interested in any recommendations for vendors that repair/install bell systems and Bell system software programs.

A: Rich Holcomb, Greater Rutland County SU: These guys did clocks and bells systems try them. Dame Diette, 
Systems Integrator, Minuteman Security Technologies / Norris Fire. 1 (800) 370-3473 x1131

A: Theresa Palagonia, North Country SU: We use Twinstate Technologies for most of our schools bell, clock, paging systems installations and repairs. Most of the correspondence goes through our IT department so I don’t have a specific contact person to share, here is what I do have. (802) 833-8000,

A:  Dylan Laflam, Lamoille North SD: 

I just add programmable tone generators to our PA systems, they are pretty inexpensive and work well (as long as your PA system is up to date).


Integrity Communications does most of the work for Lamoille North and they are great. Not sure if they travel as far as Rutland.

Asset Mangement

Asset Management Software


Q: Patrick Campbell, St, Johnsbury SD: Is anyone willing to share what software is used for asset management and maybe pros and cons?

A: Bob Ratel, Orange East SU: We bought Brightly Software, (formerly Dude Solutions), for our SU for asset management approximately one year ago.  I attached a link below.


-Comprehensive platform that you can use as much or as little as you require.

-Generate work orders, schedule PM, keep all assets and information in one place for easy reference.

-Comprehensive training provided prior to launch.

-A vast knowledge base at the ready, pending input of the information, as maintenance staff leave or retire.  


-Manually entering all the information is cumbersome, if not particularly technical.

-Having current staff 'buy in' to the platform and actually use it has been a challenge. Some are intimidated by the software, but it's a matter of the more they would use it, the more beneficial and easier it becomes. (Old habits die hard!)

Personally I like it, but I wish it was received better and utilized more by our facility personnel.

Proj. Mgmt. Software

Project Management Software


Q: Matt Kittredge, Orleans Central SU: Do any of you as facility managers use project management software?  I am interested in what might be available to help create project timelines in a linear progression to include project phases and critical dates.

A: Danny Pickering, Kingdom East SD: I have used it in the past at my previous job and currently looking into another.  But, I will say here is a site that gives direction toward free software which might help save on the budget.  I am currently looking into these free ones as well.

Basketball Hoops

Basketball Hoop Repairs


Q: Tim Harte, Mill River Unified Union SD: I am wondering if I could get some information on who other schools use for Basketball hoop repairs? 

A. Tod DeLaricheliere, Orleans Southwest SU: You could check with; Tri-State Folding, Pete Mucciolo
O- 800-448-7848.  We use them for our bleachers, basketball hoops and batting cage

A: Ray Daigle, Harwood Unified Union SD: We use Tri-State Folding Partitions, Pete Mucciola, 800-448-7848.

A. Greg Frost, Windham Central SU: Tri state partitions does gymnasium inspections. If you called them they probably know of people that do the repairs. 

A: Bob Worley, Orange Southwest Unified Union SD: Tri-State Folding.  Great company and VSBIT approved.

A: Danny Pickering, Kingdom East SD: A+Athletics is a good company for the most part, they do know what they are doing but are sometimes hard to nail down for a date. The owner's name is Dan.


A: Shawn McNamara, Caledonia Central SU: I have used "Robert H Lord Company" in the past and had great results. Here is the sales reps email. Good luck!!

Facilities Use Requirements

School Facilities Use Requirements


Q: Joe Houston:  I'm looking for information about what schools do in terms of requirements for recreational users of school facilities i.e. organized groups that have regular pickle ball or tennis nights or a softball/basketball league that uses school fields/gyms. Do you make them provide a COI or sign some kind of waiver since they are organizing and bringing other people onto school property?  Post signage that public use of school facilities is at the risk of the individual user?

A: Craig Hansen, North Country SU: Derby Elementary does require a COI. We also require a practice and game schedule with the names and contact information of the coaches in case there is an issue, we know what team or division it was.  We also have a field/gym use agreement and a facilities use form that are required before anything can be used. Let me know if you want copies of the forms.

A: Shawn McNamara, Caledonia Central SU: My schools have a form that needs to be filled out and approved by the superintendent. The using party is responsible for cleaning up after use and is responsible for any damage. We have basketball leagues for adults, pickleball, volleyball, and several other activities that local tax paying residents participate in. It has worked out well for us so far.

A: Cheyne Racine, Winooski SD:  Here at Winooski SD we have a facilities scheduling system in which we have all parties enter their facilities usage into the system regardless if it is our staff and students or not and provide a COI if needed. If an outside group, always a COI is required. Our own staff who coach our students may not have to enter one being an affiliate of the district itself. We use MLschedules for our facility usage. The request would be filled out, go to the Assistant to the Superintendent, then to me for my review and if approved, they would be notified. All the fields within the usage request help determine what the style of event is and if coverage is needed. 

Another reason for this is that I can then determine what coverage may be needed from my facilities staff if a weekend event or an event that would need cleanup afterwards and also so we can track building usage on a daily basis.

A: Ray Daigle, Harwood Unified Union SD: We require groups to have COI naming the district as additionally insured. This includes the birthday parties some of our elementary schools allow.

A: Gary Scott, Essex Westford SD:  In Essex we have over 33,000 hours of community use of our facilities each year.

Here is the link to our community facility use page:

Short answer: yes, we require every group to have Liability insurance. We put some recommendations right on the page. Most groups go through our local Rec department and get the coverage that way. At the start of this last year I heard from a lot of unhappy people about the change but that stopped pretty quickly.

A: Theresa Palagonia, North Country SU: We do require outside groups to provide a COI.

I’ve attached a copy of our policy and two documents we got from VSBIT.

Here is their guidance to us:

  1. I would require insurance, and a waiver.  If they don't have coverage, then they can go here:  Requiring insurance and being named as additional insured on their Certificate of Insurance is important because there would be coverage in the event of any damages.  A waiver may relieve the school of potential claims, but the insurance provides actual coverage in the event of any damages to the school. 

  2. It's also important to note that Vermont has a recreational use statute, so this may apply as a recreational use:

•     Under 12 VSA Section 5793, an owner is not liable for injuries where the owner is NOT charging for use of the property or unless the injuries are the result of willful or wanton misconduct by the owner

•     The statute is restricted to recreational use

  1. I've attached two templates for your reference.

  2. South Burlington has a great webpage with templates that you can utilize as well:  They also include general rules and regulations as well as event safety and custodial contact information.

I would also consider a MOU, there is an indemnity/hold harmless clause in the MOU example below:

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