Fairfax (VA) Schools will retain the use of surveillance cameras in six school cafeteria pilot sites for at least another year before deciding whether to expand the program district-wide, the school board decided. The cameras were put in a year ago to see if they could be effective in deterring theft that costs the financially strapped district more than a million dollars a year. Fairfax projects a system-wide $176 milllion deficit this school year.
The cameras, which cost about $18,000 apiece, were installed in fall 2008 at half a dozen randomly chosen schools and have deterred an average of about $12,000 in losses at each site, according to a Washington Post report. Other actions to discourage theft, such as limiting the number of students in the lunch line and removing easily pilfered items, have saved an additional $100,000 at the 25 system high schools.