Schools, city may share SRO cost

by Mike Lesko | reporter Published:

Streetsboro -- The Streetsboro school district and the city's police department will be discussing ways for the two entities to share the cost of a school resource officer, Superintendent Michael Daulbaugh said.

Daulbaugh, after speaking with Police Chief Roy Mosley III, said the police department is considering taking an officer off the road to accommodate a cutback in the city budget.

"Back in 2006, they took an officer off the road to begin this program, and now they're talking about taking another officer off the road," Daulbaugh told the audience at the Jan. 9 Board of Education meeting. "Chief Mosley has to look for alternative means. He reiterated that he wants to continue this [SRO] program. He sees the value in this program, as we do in the school district."

Mosley said during a Jan. 13 Council meeting he'd had "exploratory" conversations with Daulbaugh about co-funding the position and changing the program.

Daulbaugh said the city of Streetsboro has funded the SRO solely for several years, but now the city and schools will need to share the cost. He said he will meet over the next several months with Mosley and Catherine Rouse, school treasurer, to "sit down and look at the possibility of sharing the services."

Daulbaugh said 40 percent is "pretty common" for school districts to pay for SRO annual salaries.

"Chief Mosley understands the school district and city don't have open pocket books," Daulbaugh said. "So we're going to see if we can come up with a partnership where we can co-fund our SRO because we believe an SRO is important for our district. Neither entity can pay the entire cost, but we certainly can look at a shared cost."

Mosley was unavailable for comment.

During a Jan. 13 City Council meeting, Mayor Glenn Broska said he's committed to funding the school resource officer program.

"There has never been any talk whatsoever of not funding that SRO," said Broska. "But the majority of schools partially fund SROs. We said, 'Let's ask the [Streetsboro] schools if they're willing to help fund the SRO.' If we get some funding from the schools, we might be able to increase the number of police on the road."

Daulbaugh said the schools also have a DARE program.

"DARE is a separate program that usually represents about half a day [of school]," Daulbaugh said. "The SRO part takes over the second half of the day. DARE is about education. SRO is more about a school safety officer -- having that officer present in schools for safety reasons. Since all the school tragedies around the country and with [continued] school violence, even more districts are adding SROs.

"We're very fortunate to have that relationship with our city," he said. "It is a unique relationship. I have been in districts where we could not pull off the SRO-DARE officer in the schools because it is a very expensive program."

The cost of an annual salary was unavailable.

School Board member Kevin Grimm told the audience he believes it is a good idea.

"[Previously], it was discussed [by school officials] about possibly moving into a shared agreement," Grimm said. "I think it's absolutely worth it."

School Board member John Kelly said, "We definitely need the SRO and DARE officers in our schools, so we should do what we can to make sure we have those."

Daulbaugh said Mosley talked "about what we can do to enhance these services."

"We talked about offering more training, if you will, for both our high school students and our staff," Daulbaugh said. "Currently, DARE focuses on the middle school range. Now, [DARE] Officer Jason Fogleman is more of an SRO at the high school, which is great. He is in lunch periods, classes and the hallways. But we talked about how there are a lot of social media issues presented to youngsters nowadays. There is a lot of training available for SROs. Chief Mosley is going to send Officer Fogleman to these training sessions, and he can roll that training back to our students this year.

"We're hoping to be able to offer several social media presentations from the SRO [to the students]," he said. "So we're going to increase some education."

Email: mlesko@recordpub.com

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