Good news on the SRO front finally
We came away from Monday night's joint meeting between the Baldwin City Council and the Baldwin School Board pleased by what we heard, for the most part, and convinced that progress is well on its way to finally settling the School Resource Officer issue. For the most part, again.
It was quite a discussion and a good one. The city has funded the SRO position exclusively, even though the officer works in the schools. When the position was first created, a grant paid for most of it and at one point the cost was shared.
But, when money got tight in the school district, funding from there ceased. The city felt strongly enough about the position to reinstate it and pay the full cost. However, the school district -- well, administrators, anyway -- weren't pleased that the SRO didn't act as if it were a district employee. Well, it wasn't. The position is within the Baldwin Police Department and, to this point, the SRO is an employee of the city.
These were the sticking issues between the district and city. Monday's gathering was to try and come to an agreement. There was no vote taken, but it was the clear consensus that both the vast majority of the board and council members were committed to making the SRO position work. Two council members were not there, but we know at least one of them is for it. In other words, if it comes to a vote, it would likely be 6-1 in favor by the board and 5-0 or 4-1 by the council.
That's good news and sorely needed news. It was expressed clearly by numerous board and council members that "we need to make this work." Well said. We couldn't agree more.
This is about more than money and control, it's about what's best for the students of the district. We can't lose site of that.
There is still much to be cleared up before any contract will be signed between the two governing bodies. But, it's clear that's going to happen. It's clear that concerns about training, which will include the SRO and at least two building principals, will happen. That's a huge step. This position revolves around those three. That's really where this is at, not with the board or the council.
That's also where the recent problems with the position have been. We won't point fingers as to who or why, but we know that situation has been resolved.
We also hope that at long last, this has been settled and that the few remaining problems on the board, council and administrations will do just one thing. Let it go.
It's time to move on from the pettiness this has created. It's time to move on together to do what's best for the city, community and district. After all, that's all of us.