GASD Board Adopts School Police Policies | Local News
The Gettysburg Area School District (GASD) School Board adopted policies at its recent meeting regarding the employment of a school police officer in the district.
At last week’s meeting, board members approved a new school police officer policy, an updated school security personnel policy, and a previously withdrawn revised policy on law enforcement relations. order.
Before voting, school board president Kenneth Hassinger clarified that the school board is adopting a policy and not hiring a school police officer.
According to the policy, some of the school police officer‘s responsibilities will include reporting to the principal or building supervisors any student personally observed “engaging in criminal behavior or breaking the law”, “filling out a disciplinary report about incidents that occurred in their presence” and “conduct formal investigations with the assistance of the building principal/supervisors into incidents involving injuries to students or staff, threats to the security of the school environment, and theft or damage to students, staff, or school property.”
The agenda also included the job description of the school district police officer as an item of information.
GASD Superintendent Jason Perrin said the school board is reviewing the job description as a piece of information and not voting on it.
Instead of the title of School Resource Officer (SRO), this position is listed as Director of Safety and Security, School Police Officer and will report to the Superintendent, according to the job description.
The School Police Officer “will patrol school facilities and grounds to prevent disruptive or unlawful actions, access to restricted areas, theft or vandalism during an assigned or rotating shift and will will strive to promote a safe and healthy environment for students, staff and visitors,” according to the job description.
The district hopes to have a school police officer on board by late summer or early fall, officials have previously said.
In April, Perrin told the school board that he had not received qualified responses to his recent request for proposals for a school resource officer. The arrangement for a resource officer between the school district and Cumberland Township ended in February.
The preliminary 2022-23 budget includes $100,000 to support the SRO program which was previously under contract, according to Belinda Wallen, chief commercial officer of GASD. As the budget heads toward final adoption, the district previously projected a $60,000 increase in operational costs for the program, Wallen said, noting that the total cost of the school policing program is estimated to be $160,000 in awaiting final adoption.
Gettysburg resident Jared Donmoyer spoke during the public comment portion of the meeting last week about the potential cost to school policing “on taxpayer dollars.”
Donmoyer said he knows there are school shootings all over the country and things can happen even in a small community like Gettysburg. He compared the size of Gettysburg to Chambersburg.
“We are not Chambersburg,” Donmoyer said. “We probably have half that population. They are probably three times bigger than us.
Donmoyer also noted that two of GASD’s buildings — Franklin Township Elementary School and Gettysburg High School — fall under the jurisdiction of Pennsylvania State Police, Gettysburg Barracks.
Hassinger said he was a former state trooper and mentioned potential response time issues.
The workforce breakdown “is tenuous at best” for Gettysburg Barracks when it has coverage areas from New Oxford to Franklin Township, according to Hassinger, who noted that’s what the committee security has been taken into account.
If the district is successful in attracting and hiring its own agent, the policy says the Adams County Court of Common Pleas will have to certify the agent’s ability to enforce district property law.
The district hoped to hire a second officer before its former officer was reassigned. That’s always the goal, Perrin said previously.
The first officer will be a program supervisor who will hire and train additional officers as the administration and board deem appropriate, Perrin said.
Additional officers will also need to be approved by the court, Perrin said.
Perrin said the director of safety and security position will not be posted until the 2022-23 school budget is approved.
The 2022-23 budget, with a proposed 1.9% tax increase, was not on the agenda for the June 6 meeting.
The school board is finalizing a recommendation from the administration and will vote at a meeting set for June 20, according to a statement read at the meeting. The school board is required to approve the budget by the June 30 state budget deadline, officials said.
In addition to awaiting more accurate revenue projections, the GASD administration is working to cut some other expenses “in order to put several professional positions back in the budget; and to increase the fiscal capacity of school policing support for our district campuses as part of the final recommendation,” the statement said.
In May, the school board presented a preliminary 2022-23 budget with a planned tax increase of 1.9%. The motion passed by a 5-to-1 vote with school board member AmyBeth Hodges as the only “no” vote.
The increase equates to $54.92 per year for a property valued at the district average of $260,296, according to Wallen.
The draft showed $67.8 million in revenue and $70.3 million in expenses. About $2.4 million will be drawn from the unrestricted fund account to help balance the budget deficit, as well as the tax hike, officials said.