LIMESTONE TWP. — Puzzled by the ongoing reluctance of the Clarion County Commissioners, members of the Clarion-Limestone School Board voted to pursue in-school security provided by the county sheriff’s office.
At their meeting last week, C-L superintendent Amy Glasl and board representatives reported on their most recent talks with the commissioners about renewing the district’s long-time school security contract.
“We were trying in good faith to get them to be cooperative,” school board member Kathy Henry said of the commissioners, noting that she felt the relationship between the district and the county should be “give and take.”
“I said that I thought that having an officer at the school was 100 percent beneficial to all the students, and also great public relations for them too,” she continued. “I guess they don’t feel the same.”
Board members also discussed the benefits of having a sheriff’s deputy involved in school security rather than hiring security officers from a private firm.
“If you’re going with full-time, you’re going to have to pay benefits which would be an astronomical amount,” said Glasl, noting further that a part-time person must have certification and training to be in the school. “[You may] have to pay into PSERS for them as well.”
Pointing out that the original intention of hiring a sheriff’s deputy for school security was to have a recognized legal authority on site, school board member Dave Schirmer questioned whether a private SRO would have the power to arrest someone if the need arose.
“God forbid if there was a shooting scenario, there would be an armed person on school property,” he said of the deputies.
C-L Elementary principal Kristie Taylor added that sheriff’s deputies also provide a direct connection to other emergency services.
“The direct line to emergency services has served us very well, and the sheriff’s department brings that with them,” Taylor said. “They can get things faster than anyone calling from a line.”
Summarizing the commissioners’ concern regarding salary reimbursement, Schirmer reported that the commissioners gave a price of about $30 per hour for a part-time deputy and $46.81 for full-time, saying that if the district used the deputy for 30 hours, the cost would be about what it was last year.
“It’s not going to be exact, but it’s going to be close,” he said, noting that there would also be a nine-hour time difference from the 39 hours the deputy was on site last year.
Noting that they could not vote on a contract since none was offered by the commissioners, board members authorized Glasl to pursue a contract with the county.
Board member David Eggleton offered his support for pursuing the contract.
“If the principals are saying that we need [the deputies] here for the safety of the school, how do you put a number on what it is?” he said.
“I just like the consistency,” Glasl agreed. “I don’t think we’ve ever not had a deputy.”
Other Business• Kelly Smith was hired as a speech and language pathologist at a Step 1 Masters salary of $47,145 for the upcoming school year.
Andrea Stewart was also hired as an accountant/human resources employee in the central office at a pro-rated annual salary of $36,771.88 for the 2020-21 school year.
• Board members approved the use of Capital Project Funds, if grant funding is not available, to purchase elementary desks and chairs at a cost not to exceed $12,500.
• Guidelines for providing ambulance and/or QRS services for all home football games were approved.