The fire alarm system at Bakerfield Elementary remains inoperable while the Baker School Board seeks bids for a replacement, officials said Tuesday.

In the meantime, the school is on “fire watch,” meaning staff is being extra vigilant about potential fire hazards, Superintendent Herman Brister told the School Board.

The system was discovered to be faulty during a routine fire drill.

“We pulled the alarm and nothing happened,” Brister said.

School officials checked with the manufacturer about repairing the system, but it was determined to be too old and in need of replacement.

Brister said he expects a new one to cost at least $20,000. The board on Tuesday authorized advertising for bids for a new fire alarm system. Bids will be accepted for 30 days beginning Friday.

In other business, the board approved a contract with Mary Kathryn Hudson to observe the district’s four pre-K classes, which are held at Bakerfield and Baker Heights elementary schools. Hudson, who holds a doctorate from LSU in education, will be paid $2,100 for her services.

“We want to have qualified eyes to make sure kids are meeting the right educational goals and getting the skills required by the state,” Brister said.

Hudson will submit her findings to the state and give a report to Brister recommending teacher-specific and districtwide opportunities for improvement.

Finally, the School Board presented newly designed academic achievement medals to five students: Gabriel Hurst, a fifth-grader at Park Ridge Academic Magnet School, is the overall winner in the PRAMS science fair; Nicholas Linton scored 31 on the ACT; and Jared White, De’shaye Johnson and Markeith Stepter received first, second and third place, respectively, in The Poetry Extravaganza sponsored by Southern University. Linton, White, Johnson and Stepter are all juniors at Baker High School.

The board also recognized Jalissa Bates, a long-term substitute teacher at Baker Middle School, for receiving the National Conference of Teachers of English Early Educator of Color Award.

The medals, which feature the school system’s buffalo mascot, were designed by Brister.

“He presented us with three designs and the board chose this one,” board President Elaine Davis said.

The awards are part of an initiative to recognize not just athletic but also academic achievements by students, Brister said.

“We value brainpower and hard work around academics,” he said. “When you get old, you won’t be able to run and jump anymore, but an active mind lasts a lifetime.”