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School resource officer contract expected to go before Webster Parish School Board

by Minden Press-Herald

Following a meeting among officials with Webster Parish Schools and Minden and Springhill Friday, the school resource officer contract is expected to be up for board approval by the Feb. 1 meeting.

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Dan Rawls says the contract encompasses language to pay for SROs for both Minden and North Webster schools.

“We have three funding sources,” he said. “You can use the general fund, district maintenance funds, or parish-wide maintenance funds. The district funds from Minden and Springhill are how they’re going to pay for it.”

He says even though the Springhill district maintenance fund is what will fund the SRO for the north end of the parish, Sgt. Johnny Coleman will still cover the schools in Sarepta and Cotton Valley.

Minden Police Chief Steve Cropper pulled SRO Officer Tina Douglas from Webster Junior High School more than two weeks ago when he learned the school board was not paying her full salary.

Central Office records show that in the last half of the 2014-15 school year, the board only paid the City of Minden for one SRO at the long agreed upon rate of $1,500 per month. Records show they paid the $1,500 rate per month for Springhill as well.

For Minden schools, they did not pay anything for the months of June and July 2015; however, for those months in Springhill, the board paid the city a total of $3,000.
In Minden, payments resumed in August.

Payments to both municipalities have been paid through December 2015.

Rawls said previously the hold up on the contract for the last six and a half months was due to technical language in the contract that both parties can agree with. The intergovernmental agreement between the school board and Minden and Springhill was halted, he said, when their internal auditors looked at it to make sure that all rules and regulations were being followed.

The City of Minden presented a proposed contract to the school board in June 2015 asking the board to pay two full-time salaries for SROs Sgt. Tokia Whiting and Douglas. Springhill Mayor Carroll Breaux and Police Chief Will Lynd approached the board at that meeting requesting the board pay Coleman’s salary.

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