Everyone wants their child safe in school, but at what cost?
School Board members say it's worth going in the red to keep them safe, but they also wonder if there's a more cost-effective way. Since school begins in two weeks, the board realized the only viable option this year was to pay the extra cost, which accounts for rising salaries and benefits and the elimination of state grant money.
The board voted 4 to 1 to continue with 20 school resource officers; 15 of those are deputies coming from the Bay County Sheriff's Office.
Sheriff Frank McKeithen says it’s a deal they can't pass up because the Sheriff's Office provides an all inclusive SRO program with after school and summer activities, but some board members say if they had more time they might have found a cheaper way.
Board members don't want to be up against the wall next year. They agreed to take up the issue in six months. They'll consider hiring their own force, or making the SRO contracts longer so tough issues like this week are planned out in the long run.