LAKEVIEW — Members of the Lakeview Community Schools Board of Education voted Monday to hire a resource officer to create a police presence in the district’s schools.
In a joint agreement with the village, the school will pay half the salary for an officer from the Lakeview Police Department to spend between four to six hours per day patrolling school buildings.
Superintendent Kyle Hamlin noted this decision was not a “knee-jerk reaction” to the recent school shootings in Connecticut, but rather the culmination of plans the district and the village have been discussing for some time.
“The chief and I have been talking about this for about six months,” Hamlin said. “I think an officer can be a positive influence on the kids. The minute they start interacting with them on a different basis, it really makes a difference.”
Board President Ed Jonaitis noted the school has utilized a resource officer in the past, but it has been awhile since one has been on active duty.
“In this sharing plan with the village, we plan to bring him back five hours a day within our district,” Jonaitis said. “We think it’s good for students to have that contact, with all the things they have to deal with today. It’s not totally just a reaction to do with what’s been going on around the country, but that does have something to do with it.”
The cost of the officer to the district for the remainder of this school year is $4,400, some of which may be paid for from emergency funds. Hamlin said that next year the school might be able to obtain funding for the officer from grant money.
“I would anticipate we’d have a chance of getting something like that,” Hamlin said. “The peace of mind is worth a lot.”
The officer also will be responsible for occasional presentations to classrooms on topics ranging from drug use to bullying.
Hamlin also noted that a kick-off informational campaign regarding the upcoming bond issue will get under way at a meeting at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the high school.
“This is one of the most important things happening in our community,” Hamlin said. “The simple priorities for this bond vote is getting back in Bright Start. We can’t have our newest and best building sitting idle. Also, we need to replace our aging school bus fleet and the third thing is updating our technology and infrastructure.”
The public vote on the bond is slated for Feb. 26.