Schools look at resource officer grant

Already having one school resource officer in the Williamsport Area School District, the school board was informed there is an opportunity to potentially secure two more officers at Tuesday’s meeting.

David Wright, director of student services, told the board that the city Bureau of Police has applied for a COPS grant through the U.S. Department of Justice, which if approved would give the district additional resource officers. The board directed Wright to go forward with submitting a letter of support for the bureau’s application.

If approved, the grant would pay 75 percent of the officer’s salary, with the bureau and district splitting the remaining 25 percent. The payment would continue for three years. During the fourth year of the program, the bureau and district would split the entire salary.

When asked by the board, Wright estimated it would cost the district a little less than $10,000 a year for the first three years. When it would be required to pay 50 percent, Wright said it would be a cost of about $40,000.

The district already has one resource officer and has been paying 50 percent of that salary for the past few years. The officer is mainly stationed at the high school but also routinely visits middle and elementary schools.

This resource officer position also originally was funded by a COPS grant.

The board is unsure if the district needed to jump from one to three resource officers, because it would create more costs.

“I’m wondering, do we really need to go to three,” said Dr. Jane Penman, board member.

Other board members agreed, saying that they would be in favor of one additional officer. Wright said they would still write a letter of support for two officers because the bureau could use the officer in another way.

In other business, the board voted to approve Williamsport Moving Co. to move furniture and equipment among district schools during the summer at an estimated cost of $64,604.36.