MCS safety specialist calls for officers in schools
Police would rotate through district's schools
Thursday, February 14, 2013 10:00 AM
Jill Deputy, Madison Consolidated School District's safety specialist, would like to see three school resource officers rotating through the district's schools. For now, she would settle for one.
A school resource officer is a police officer assigned to a school or schools who would work closely with students, faculty and staff.
"The biggest thing they say in their job is being visible," Deputy told the Madison Consolidated school board Wednesday night.
"Being in the lunch room, sitting with them (the students), eating with them. That's huge. Then they feel comfortable with them."
Deputy said that she and local law enforcement agencies are reviewing ways to fund school resource officers, including grants.
Deputy also said that Safety Help - an online option used to alert the school to threats or other information - has expanded and can now be used by parents and students.
To access Safety Help, go to the "Families" tab on the Madison Consolidated Schools website. The safety line will then ask you who is involved, where is the incident taking place and any other pertinent information.
"It felt like we needed to open up the opportunity for people to say 'I think there's somebody that needs some help,'" Deputy said. "It's not just for violent kinds of things, but people who need mental help as well."
Also at the meeting, board members reviewed the approved budget for the 2013-2014 school year. One issue reviewed by school superintendent Ginger Studebaker-Bolinger was the school transportation budget.
Next year, Madison is expecting $1.67 million in the transportation budget but is projecting $1.74 million in expenditures.
"You can see there's a little issue there," Bolinger said. "Our expected expenditures is much higher than our expected revenue."
Bolinger said that she met with bus drivers Monday and explained that the district has eaten through the transportation budget's cash balance for a number of years.
"If we continue to operate the way we're operating we will reduce that cash balance by $124,000 this year which will leave just at $45,000 in our cash balance," she said. "I think that's not responsible. I think we need to make some changes and we need to make those now."
Bolinger said she would have a recommendation on how to reduce costs to the transportation budget before the March school board meeting.
Mike Robinson, director of operations, said that the cutbacks could include layoffs of bus drivers.
In other news, the board:
Voted unanimously to give up the health insurance reimbursement provided by the school corporation as reimbursement for service to the school. Board members will still be eligible to receive health insurance coverage, but the school corporation will not pay for it. School board president Todd Bass said that board members discussed the issue and decided it was the fiscally responsible thing to do.
Accepted a $305,000 grant for technology advancements. Lisa Cutshall, director of technology integration, handled the application process for the grant. Madison schools were one of 10 in the state that were awarded the grant. Cutshall said the grant will go toward technology integration support in the schools.
Approved an overnight field trip for the 8th grade class to travel to Washington, D.C. during fall break next school year. The cost of the trip is $698 per student. That price will drop if more students sign up.