Danedri Thompson
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School board members approved a contract between the city and the school district that hires a Spring Hill Police Department officer to serve as a School Resource Officer (SRO) for the district, but Max Stausbaugh, board member, would like the district to research creating its own SRO permanent position.

“I definitely think we ought to start looking down the road to go in house,” he said after voting to approve the existing contract again for next year. “I think it could be utilized to our advantage.”

The board investigated the possibility of creating its own position last year, but research revealed it wouldn’t be cost effective.
School superintendent Bart Goering said if the district hired its own SRO, the school would have to pay for officer training and equipment.

“And after that, there’s no guarantee that they’d stay,” he said.

The district would also be short staffed if the officer needed to take a day to testify in court or take a vacation day. In the existing contract, the cost of a substitute officer – to be supplied by the SHPD – is written into it.

Wayne Burke, assistant superintendent, said he only knows of a few school districts in Kansas that don’t partner with city or county departments for SRO services. He listed school districts in Maize and the Seaman (Topeka) districts as well as Shawnee Mission.

“When the budget crunch hit, their (officers) were some of the first to go,” Goering said. “And the other districts started contracting.”

The board also approved a 2011-2012 school calendar. Although he voted to approve the calendar, board member Bill Meek expressed reservations about it. The superintendent’s advisory council recommended the calendar back in February, however board members tabled the decision in April pending budget decisions from the state legislature.

Meek was adamant about waiting to approve the calendar in April, because shaving school days from the calendar could save the district money. The state is still lagging in funds, he said.

“With the political climate that looks like it’s coming in, I just don’t see hope of more money coming in,” he said. “The thing I’d like to take a look at is how many savings we would have with moving (the start of school) back one week… I think we could find some pretty significant savings with just that one week.”

Goering said in buses alone the savings would amount to about $5,000 a day.

In other business, school board members:

• appointed Nels Anderson as board president and Scott Oberkrom as board vice president.

• approved the creation of a community committee that will study long-range planning needs of the school board and make a possible recommendation for a bond issue. The committee, to be appointed, will consist of community leaders, church leaders, civic organization members, school district staff, parents and board members.