Madison and Southwestern schools requested funding for their school resource officer initiatives from the County Council on Tuesday.

Both school districts have received a $50,000 state matching grant to help provide officers and increase security inside the facilities.

The grants require the schools to raise an additional $50,000 to launch the program.

The plan is for both schools to have two officers for this calendar year. The state has said the matching grants will be available for at least another year.

Madison Superintendent Ginger Studebaker-Bolinger requested that the county enter into an agreement with the school district and contribute $10,000 toward one resource officer this year. In return, the school would pay $10,000 and the state would match both contributions for a total of $40,000.  

MCS already is involved in a similar agreement with the City Council and Madison Police Department. Lt. Dan Slygh, the former MPD D.A.R.E. officer, is currently on duty in the Madison schools.

Jill Deputy, Madison's school safety specialist, said the resource officer will serve as an educator and informal counselor and provide a law enforcement presence. 

"So we feel that a (school resource officer) in the buildings is something that is going to be valuable to the whole community, "Deputy said.

If the county approves the funds, the second officer for Madison would come from the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department.

During the meeting, Sheriff John Wallace released a written statement supporting the effort and pledging to provide a vehicle, equipment and training if the county approves the contract.

The Board of Commissioners would need to review and approve any contract before funding is allocated.

Similar to Madison, Hanover and Southwestern are under an agreement for the use of two special town deputies, however, no funding is attached to those contracts.

Southwestern Superintendent Steve Telfer and the school's safety specialist Jason Watson addressed the board as well Tuesday, asking that the board give equal contributions to Madison and Southwestern.

Watson said the money will go toward security, equipment and training, as well as the resource officers. In the past year, Watson said the school has made great strides with security and building access, including implementing a new system that requires all guests to be cross-referenced with sex offender data bases across the country.

In other business:

• The council elected Judy Smith as board president and Laura Boldery as vice president for 2014.

Bill Hensler was the president last year, while Smith was the vice president.

• Council member Joe Craig said it could be the first time in the council's history that two female council members have been president and vice president.

• Council member Larry Wynn asked the board to review an economic development plan compiled by local officials and residents.

The plan would establish a board of representatives from the City Council, County Council, Board of Commissioners, the mayor and town of Hanover, as well as representatives from and Ivy Tech Community College.

The plan would establish a Community Development Council with powers to create subcommittees to focus on areas of economic development in the county, such as tourism, downtown development or agriculture.