As the East Valley district budget for the 2009-2010 school year inches toward adoption in August, school board members gave Superintendent John Glenewinkel approval to bring back the school resource officer position they had planned to trim this year.
Glenewinkel said he wants the district to have a more proactive discipline model that uses community service rather than detention. He said he would like to have the resource officer back if the position can be modified slightly. The officer would work in conjunction with two security officers employed by the district.
“We had him in an office upstairs,” said Glenewinkel. “We had him disconnected from kids.”
“I want him to be the beat cop, where he knows kids’ names and not just the ones in trouble,” said board member Mitch Jensen.
It costs East Valley approximately $17,000 per year for the resource officer. “That, to me, sounds like a bargain,” Jensen said.
The city of Spokane Valley funds most of the tab. The city pays $383,233 in salary and benefits for four resource officers primarily positioned at Central Valley, East Valley, University and West Valley high schools. The school districts pay a combined $68,640, said a city official.
Glenewinkel said the resource officer responded to 40 mostly minor incidents across the district last year, including vandalism, theft and a couple of fights. The Spokane County Sheriff’s Office has asked the district to reconsider its decision to eliminate the position, Glenewinkel said.
The board gave its approval for Glenewinkel to bring the position back.
Board members also reviewed the expected enrollment for the coming school year. The total enrollment is expected to rise 4,238. The number is an increase of 98 over last year’s, but includes a loss of 51 students attending school and an increase of 149 students in the district’s online program.
The district is balancing its budget by trimming programs and staff, making use of federal stimulus dollars and dipping into its reserves for $400,000. “This is a stop-gap measure,” said Glenewinkel.