District, city discuss shared funding for SRO
There seems to be some confusion over who's responsible for the funding needed for the school resource officer and exactly how much is to be paid.
Mayor Ken Hayes addressed the Baldwin school board at Monday's Board of Education meeting with concerns he said the city had about the funding for the district's SRO.
"What we're concerned about is the shared responsibility of the SRO with the district," Hayes said. "We need to structure an agreement between the two entities."
The SRO position began three years ago as part of a five-year grant the Baldwin School District and Baldwin City entered into together. The district has the officer full time for nine months of the year, and when school is not in session during the summer, the city has the officer working in the police department.
As part of the grant, the state of Kansas funded 75 percent of the SRO costs the first year, and the remaining 25 percent was funded by the district and the city.
Each year, the state funds less and the local funding increases leading to the fifth year when the state funds nothing.
Hayes said the city believed the $5,000 the district agreed to pay for it's share of the SRO costs for 2002-2003, the fourth year of the grant, wasn't sufficient.
Supt. James White said because of budget cuts, the district couldn't afford to pay any more for the SRO.
"We went through and listed many items that we're going to have to take a look at cutting this year," White said. "In several areas like that, we don't have any choices."
Hayes said the school district wasn't the only one with budget cuts.
"The city of Baldwin also suffered a 6 percent cut," he said. "The ax doesn't just apply to your group."
But both the school district and the city said they thought the SRO position was important.
"The SRO position has done a great deal for our school district," White said. "We don't deny that many good things have taken place through this SRO program."
There has been discussion about getting a second SRO as part of a federal grant, but Hayes said a second position won't be created until something is worked out with the first SRO.
But he said because the SRO is beneficial to both Baldwin and the school district, the position will be in place next year.
"We as a city feel the need to maintain the program if not expand it," he said. "We will fully fund the SRO program this year. It will remain in place."
Board President Ed Schulte the district will look at the grant agreement and the district's figures to see if something can be worked out.
"We feel this is a good program that's beneficial to both parties," Schulte said.
In other business, the school board:
Approved Ed Schulte as board president and Lonnie Broers as board vice president for 2002-2003.
Approved in a 6-0 vote the purchase of a new student management system from Apple for approximately $39,000.
Approved in a 6-0 vote the proposal for a wellness program for district employees through the Baldwin Athletic Club.
Approved the appointments of several district officers.
Met in executive session for 30 minutes to discuss personnel.