School board approves resource officer position
The Eureka Springs School District will have a school resource officer (SRO) on campus full time next year.
The Eureka Springs School Board voted unanimously at its Monday meeting to approve pursuing a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the city to hire a resource officer.
Superintendent Bryan Pruitt said he visited with the mayor and chief of police about the creation of an SRO position and safety concerns for the school district.
“We can’t be too prepared,” he said. “Their vision for us is to hire a resource officer who would be employed by the city and have all the city benefits, and we would have an MOU to reimburse a portion of his salary.”
Pruitt said the district is looking at an 80/20 split with the city on the SRO’s salary and benefits.
“The mayor said it’s about $69,000 to have a fully trained officer, so we’re looking at about $56,000,” he said. “I think it’s a good thing. It’s a good show of faith for our district. We take safety very seriously and want to improve all areas of safety we can.”
Board member Gayla Wolfinbarger asked what the SRO’s duties would be. Pruitt said the SRO will lead some educational programs and do patrols of the buildings and campus during the school day.
“The main thing is safety,” Pruitt said. “They will be a presence on campus. We would try to get an office for them and have a computer for them.”
He continued, “The city and police department would like to find the right fit for our district. They said they would interview and have two to three candidates. Then they will invite me back for the final part of the interview to see who would be the best fit for our schools.”
The board also voted to create a new half-time special education director position and a half-time special education teacher position.
Pruitt said the district had a special education director through the Ozarks Unlimited Resource (OUR) Educational Service Cooperative.
“That lady has resigned, so we looked in-house on what we could do here to better serve our students,” he said.
Pruitt said there are certified staff members in the special education department who could serve as a half-time special education director and a half-time special education teacher for life skills in the elementary school and still teach their other classes for the other half of their schedule.
“I think it’s a good deal for us because we don’t have to hire additional staff members for that,” he said.
The board also voted to approve the licensed salary schedule and the classified salary schedule for the 2018-19 school year.
Pruitt said he would also like to recommend awarding an extra personal day to licensed staff members with more than 20 years experience and an extra personal day and vacation day to classified staff members with more than 20 years experience.
“If the personnel and policies committee (PPC) approves that, we’ll come back next month and approve that addition,” he said.
The board also voted to extend the PCMI Substitute Agreement, which contracts substitute teachers for the district.
Treasurer Pam McGarrah presented the financial reports, saying the district had $8,819,000 in its bank balance, $8,855,000 in its total fund balance and $2,349,000 in its legal balance at the end of March. The board voted to approve the financial reports.
The board’s next regular meeting is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Monday, May 14, in the administration building.