The Press Newspaper
Jerusalem Township trustees have shown an interest in funding a third School Resource Officer (SRO) for the Oregon City Schools District.
Jeff Ziviski, vice president of the school board, said last week that Jerusalem Township trustees are considering funding a third SRO to cover Eisenhower Middle School because the building is in the township.
Mayor Marge Brown at Monday’s council meeting said that a city councilman had asked her to contact Jerusalem Township trustees and Lucas County Commissioners to see if any funding was available for a third SRO.
“I have a meeting with the Jerusalem Township trustees. They were very excited in joining ranks with the City of Oregon and doing an SRO. That was a conversation I had with them today,” said Brown.
Oregon City Council, at a committee of the whole meeting two weeks ago, voted 4-3 against putting a proposed agreement to fund a third School Resource Officer on its meeting agenda the following week. The city currently funds and provides two police officers as SROs to monitor Eisenhower and Fassett Middle schools, and Clay High School. One officer is at the high school, while the other covers Eisenhower and Fassett.
The school board asked council to provide a third officer for the remainder of the 2008-09 school year, and for the entire 2009-2010 school year. For the 2010/2011 school year, the city would continue to provide the three officers, with the board paying 33 percent of the entire annual compensation paid to the three officers by the city.
“I forwarded a memo for council’s consideration, an alteration to the proposal that was not forwarded last week,” Administrator Ken Filipiak said to council last Monday.
“Hopefully, the mayor would like to see this placed as an agenda item for consideration at the next committee of the whole meeting,” said Filipiak.
The annual salary of a school resource officer is approximately $76,000..
Brown, and school board members who showed up at the committee of the whole meeting, said a third officer is needed to maintain stability in the school buildings.
The financially strapped district at one time funded a third SRO, but cut the position to help balance the budget.
Opponents on city council believed it was the district’s responsibility to fund another SRO, particularly since it had previously eliminated the position from its budget.
Ziviski said last Wednesday that reductions in revenue caused the district to either cut teachers or the third SRO from the budget.
Brown had originally approached school officials with the proposed agreement to fund a third SRO, according to Ziviski. The board approved of the measure before council rejected it. Ziviski said city officials had included an “out clause” in the agreement, which the district opposed.
The provision would have allowed either party to walk away from the agreement if both approved.
“We said it wouldn’t work,” said Ziviski.