Cops in School

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The Bay County School District would have to pay an additional $56,000 this year to keep 15 Bay County sheriff's deputies in local schools. The board voted 3 to 2 Wednesday evening to hold a workshop before deciding whether or not to renew that contract.

Some School Board members want to reduce the number of officers from two per high school to just one, but Sheriff Frank McKeithen says the contract calls for 15 deputies or none at all.

School Board member Donna Allen says the Sheriff's Office should compromise with the School Board. Thirteen sheriff's deputies in area schools would only cost the district $7,000.

"We definitely need officers in our schools and the Sheriff's Office has been good to us, but we need to look at our fiscal situation. It means the difference between raises for our teachers and officers in our school, and I'm sorry, but I'm for teachers getting raises every time," says Donna Allen.

The school district's safety officer, Mike Jones, also recommended the School Board hire its own force of retired police officers and other certified cops. That's one of the options board members will discuss at the workshop on July 21.