NP board considers school resource officer, discusses budget changes
ROACHDALE -- After a change of venue and a later start time, the North Putnam Board of School Trustees addressed important issues regarding school safety and the school corporation’s finances during its monthly meeting Thursday night.
Holding the meeting in the North Putnam High School auditorium to accommodate students and parents who attended to hear the board’s response to another unrelated issue, the board considered the prospect of hiring a school resource officer (SRO).
NPCSC superintendent Nicole Singer brought a proposal before the board that outlined a working relationship with the Bainbridge Police Department, which would provide one sworn police officer to monitor activity at the corporation’s four schools.
The school corporation was recently awarded a Secured School Safety Grant through the Indiana Department of Homeland Security (IDHS), which would match up to $50,000 toward upgrading and enhancing security measures at North Putnam Schools.
Singer said the Town of Bainbridge and BPD would be responsible for everything the officer would need, while the school corporation would be responsible for the officer’s salary and additional training, if needed. The matching grant would then be used to cover those expenses.
In response to a question by board member Dustin Osborn concerning the officer’s availability, Singer said that the SRO would be assigned duty during normal school hours. Additionally, the officer would be available for at least 20 extracurricular events during the school year, and that he would be welcome to interact with students.
Board member Travis Lambermont felt that the SRO could be approved by the board while other options for security could be explored. Singer said the proposal, which is still being finalized, was only brought forth for discussion and not for a vote.
The board concluded that more time would be needed to consider other measures before hiring a school resource officer.
The board next heard explanations regarding where the school corporation stood with its finances, as well as necessary changes to the budget. Singer informed the board that it had to establish two new funds -- an operational fund and an education fund -- required by state law. The operational fund would consolidate funds allocated to capital projects, transportation and bus replacement, while the education fund would hold money allocated from the state.
The board approved the creation of the funds, with board member John Hayes opposing the approval. Singer also said the budget would have to be advertised soon, and that meetings would have to be scheduled to work those details out.
Additionally, Singer presented the figures for the corporation’s insurance and liabilities. The board approved a new clause that added a “cyberliability” policy, which would be needed given how sensitive information is stored on computers. Singer said that the insurance premiums could come in about $700 more than last year’s total figures, but that the school corporation was well-covered in its liabilities.
Officials from the four schools in the corporation also informed the school board that the beginning of the school year had progressed smoothly and without issue.
The next regular school board meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 20 in the Administration Office at Bainbridge.