Can Schools Afford Quality Security Systems?

Security Cameras & Access Control

Every public building should be equipped with quality security systems. Threats of theft, vandalism, and other malicious activity make security cameras and access control systems a standard for any business or institution.

This especially applies to elementary, middle, and high schools, since student safety is a top concern for administrators and the public.

There are countless reasons why schools need precise security footage, but it’s no secret that this technology comes at a cost. So, can schools actually afford the camera and access control systems they need? Here’s an overview of the surveillance equipment they would typically need, and how they could fit them into the budget.  

Overview of Security Systems for Schools

When you think about security camera systems for schools, security guards will likely come to mind first. However, along with security guards, schools need adequate video surveillance to protect students and retrieve footage if an incident occurs.

Access control systems and security cameras for schools can assist your school district with:

  • Visitor management and monitoring
  • Securing entrances with door locks
  • Monitoring parking lots
  • Gathering high-quality footage to supply to law enforcement in case of a serious incident

To learn more about how advanced security systems can improve your school’s safety, read our blog: 7 ways Axis Video Surveillance Solutions Can Keep Your School Safe.


The cameras you need will depend on the area they’ll be placed in, the surrounding environment, and any tampering threats. Some cameras are made to be more tamper-resilient, such as dome cameras.  Others, like bullet cameras, are more delicate but offer longer-distance viewing and easier mounting. Environmental factors to consider include:

  • Low-light or glares
  • Exposure to the elements
  • Flying dust or debris, like in wood shops

You should place security cameras in both high-traffic and low-traffic areas around your school. Teachers can’t always monitor every area of the school, so these low-traffic areas may be especially prone to nefarious activity or otherwise unseen incidents.

Access Control Systems

The safety of your school is paramount, especially when it comes to keeping out unauthorized individuals. Access control systems limit access to only authorized faculty and staff, which can offer peace of mind that exterior and interior doors are secured.

Access control systems can help keep outsiders from entering your campus buildings. Interior panels can ensure only authorized individuals can access rooms containing sensitive data or potential hazards such as chemicals or equipment.

Environmental/Vape Sensors

Vaping is a big problem in today’s schools, and it’s easy for kids to slip under the radar by vaping in bathrooms or secluded areas. One way to combat this is through environmental sensors designed to detect irregularities in the atmosphere.

Verkada environmental sensors feature innovative technology that can detect vapes, cannabis smoke, and changes in air temperature associated with vaping. These can be useful tools in preventing kids from vaping in school, as security systems can act as visual deterrents when they are in plain view.

To read more about Verkada sensors and how they can help your school, read our blog: Eliminate Vaping in Schools with Verkada Sensors.

What is the Cost of Security Camera Systems?

Whether public schools can afford security systems depends on the state or private funding they have available to them and the systems they choose.

Costs for the systems themselves will depend on factors such as:

  • The number of cameras you’ll need
  • The model(s) and manufacturer(s) of the security system
  • The amount of time per day you need cameras to be recording
  • The length of time you want to (or are legally required to) retain footage for
  • License pricing structures for different manufacturers
  • Where and how you’d like to store footage

To read more about security camera storage and what to look for, read our article: Is Your Security Camera Footage Easy to Access?

How Many Cameras Will Your School Need, and What’s the Cost?

Most schools will need a decent-sized fleet of cameras to cover both interior and exterior viewpoints. A medium-sized school will likely require a fleet of around 24 cameras. For these, expect to pay around $20,000-26,000.

For larger schools, you will have many more students to protect and therefore more areas to closely monitor. A large school requiring a fleet of 64 cameras should expect to pay around $75,000-80,000.

Funding Opportunities for School Security

As these numbers climb, a new security camera system may look intimidating. However, whether your school is public or private, there are resources available to assist you in paying for these essential upgrades.

Make sure to look for grants and programs to help with costs if you don’t have a large budget. You can check out what federal grants you could qualify for with the Grants Finder Tool on

How to Find the Right School Surveillance System

Choosing the right security cameras and access control systems starts with partnering with experts familiar with school security. A managed security provider should know how to approach school security camera systems. Look for a managed service provider with a good track record working with private and/or public institutions.

If you are unsure what your needs will look like, or you’re overwhelmed by the countless options on the market, you’re not alone. Click on the button below to talk to a managed security expert about your business. 

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About Jada Sterling, Digital Content Manager

Jada Sterling is Usherwood's Content Manager. She is responsible for developing content that furthers the mission of Usherwood Office Technology by helping clients and prospective clients better understand how technology can help grow their business.