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School resource officer contracts tabled again

by Minden Press-Herald

School resource officer contracts for Minden and Springhill have been tabled again pending further discussion of the financial aspects.

Board member Frankie Mitchell asked for a substitute motion in Monday’s Webster Parish School Board meeting to delay the approval of the contracts saying they need to call a special meeting to discuss it further.

The original motion, made by board member Malachi Ridgel, seconded by board member Ronnie Broughton, was to approve the contracts using district maintenance funds.

“Each municipality has its own salary schedule for its employees,” superintendent of schools Dr. Dan Rawls said.

Another issue is board member Jerry Lott called into question that they were given a sample contract. Springhill modeled their contract after Minden’s.

If they were approved as is, this means the school board would pay salaries and benefits for 10 months out of a year, and finance director Crevonne Odom took issue with that. The school year is only a certain amount of instructional days, and during shorter months, such as December and the end of the school year where SROs would only be needed for a couple of weeks out of the month, the board would be agreeing to pay them for the full month.
Also, SRO pay would come out of each district’s maintenance funds, but Springhill Sgt.

Johnny Coleman covers North Webster Junior High in Sarepta and the elementary school in Cotton Valley. Those two schools no longer have district maintenance funds.

The discussion came about when board member Ronnie Broughton says he felt what is paid should be fair, the same for both Minden and Springhill.

“We’re paying $1.52 more per student in Springhill than we are in Minden, and that’s not fair,” Broughton said. “We ought to be paying the same amount for the students that the SRO has got to look after. Minden has 796 kids. North Webster has 532. We pay $8.91 per child for North Webster and $7.39 for students at Minden and at the junior high.”

He added the school board is paying $139,886.10 for police officers to be in the schools.
“We’ve got teachers that’s asking for raises, and we’ve got booster clubs and band clubs that’s asking for some help,” he said. “How much of that $139,886.10 would go to satisfy the needs that we’re supposed to furnish, and that’s education needs? We’ve got $140,000 in non-instructional costs, and it’s not fair.”

Odom says the costs were based upon the person.

“In Minden, one officer has been there longer, so she makes more than the other,” she said. “The details that make up this cost is actually their salary and benefits that are attached, and their health insurance.”

The idea of the school board hiring its own officers, or even using off-duty officers, was brought up, but supervisor of transportation and security Buster Flowers told board members they could not do that because any officer that is on a school campus full-time must be school resource officer certified and POST, or Peace Officer Standard Training, certified. Flowers says there are only five officers in the entire parish that hold the SRO certification.

Had the board approved the numbers given them, the board would have been paying each officer in Minden $9,250 per month. This is one full-time officer for Minden High School and one for Webster Junior High School. For North Webster High School, they would have paid $4,738.61. Currently, the school board pays both Minden and Springhill a flat rate of $1,500 per month, for a total of $3,000 monthly.

Contracts for Doyline and Lakeside have yet to be finalized.

A date for the special meeting has yet to be determined.

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