What is the future of the school resource officer in the Redwood Area School District?
That program, which had been funded using grant dollars and some safe schools funding, has seen its funds come to an end, and as a result the Redwood Area Board of Education is looking for some kind of alternate way to ensure the same level of safety it has experienced.
“The safety of our students is a priority,” said Rick Ellingworth, Redwood Area School District superintendent, adding, however, he has a hard time taking money that could be used for educational programming away from the general fund to pay for this program.
There had been some hope the state legislature would increase the safe schools funding, and while there was a $4 increase, the $40 per pupil unit allocation is a far cry from what would be needed to fund the SRO program.
Ellingworth is convinced the city has a responsibility to serve the school, especially, as he put it, when 25 percent of the population is in the school on any given day.
Discussions have been taking place between the city and the school district, with added meetings being held in the near future to talk about options.
No decisions regarding the future of the SRO program have been made, and Ellingworth said the district has committed to using existing funds to cover the costs of having RFPD officer Dana Woodford in the school for this school year. The board is going to make a final decision at an upcoming meeting.
In other action during its meeting, the school board:
• Approved the employment of Darren Tighe as the JV boys basketball coach, with a stipend of $2,814.
• Approved the employment of Kathy Swanson as a .85 FTE second grade teacher at a salary of $29,377 based on a 156 day contract.
• Approved the employment of Heidi Hennen as a human resource/payroll specialist at a rate of $18 per hour for a 260 day contract.
• Approved changes to the robotics program coaching positions replacing the two co-leader positions with a head coach and an assistant coach. The head coach would receive a stipend of $1,950, with the assistant coach stipend at $1,300.
• Approved job description changes for the schools Indian education program and approved new hourly rates for its staff, including Ruth Goodthunder as Title VII Indian education staff for a 184 day contract at $16.54 per hour, Jackie Probst as Success For the Future co-facilitator for a 190 day contract at $20.75 and Pete Nez as Title VII staff and Success For the Future co-facilitator for a 184 day contract at $18.25 per hour.
• Accepted the resignation of Markeela Toreen from her position as an elementary school paraprofessional and co-advisor for the school patrol program.