Education

Student resource officers protect, serve and educate at Bellefonte schools

Some Bellefonte police are gearing up to give a presentation Tuesday night to the Bellefonte Area School District board of directors regarding their roles as student resource officers.

At a meeting April 5, some of the nine-member board said they’re up in the air about bringing on a second SRO to the district next school year if a state grant doesn’t come through to help offset the cost.

“I would like to hear more operationally,” board member Keith Hamilton said. “I guess I’m just looking for some kind of feedback that justifies having a second SRO, with productivity and that sort of thing. I would just like to know what’s going on.”

Superintendent Cheryl Potteiger told the CDT on Thursday that SROs do more than respond to calls within district facilities.

They’re involved in our education. They hold safety (courses); work with students and staff; and really do a good job of keeping an eye out on things. There’s been a lot of good trust and relationships built.

Superintendent Cheryl Potteiger

“They’re involved in our education,” she said. “They hold safety (courses); work with students and staff; and really do a good job of keeping an eye out on things. There’s been a lot of good trust and relationships built.”

The SROs are Bellefonte police officers Shawn Luse and Mike Lyons.

Potteiger said that for about eight years, Bellefonte Area had one SRO who helped monitor the middle and high schools.

In 2014-15, the district received a two-year Safe Schools Grant through the commonwealth that was put toward providing the district with a second SRO.

In its first year, the district received $60,000. This school year, Bellefonte Area was slated to receive $30,000, which hasn’t been received due to the budget situation in Harrisburg, Potteiger said.

“We’re just waiting for that,” she said.

The money is distributed through the state Department of Education, and open to entities to put toward safety programs, the DOE website said.

The district funds 75 percent of the program, while the other quarter comes from the borough of Bellefonte, Potteiger said.

$140,000 projected total cost for 2016-17

That could mean a 2016-17 projected total cost of $140,000, which would be offset if Bellefonte Area is awarded the same state-funded grant for next school year, Potteiger said. The grant would fund $60,000 for the first year and $30,000 for the second year.

The district is eligible to reapply for the grant for the 2016-17 school year, but the state hasn’t opened up the grant for application yet.

Britney Milazzo: 814-231-4648, @M11azzo

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