The Dover Area School District has been granted funding for a school resource officer, but the school board will need to decide if the district will start the program.
The Northern York County Regional Police Department wrote the grant, which guarantees $60,000 in funding for one year to allow for an officer to work full-time in the school district. An additional $30,000 could be given if funds are available, Chief Mark Bentzel said.
Bentzel said the department hopes to have a positive impact on the district if the officer is approved. The department has had an officer placed in the Spring Grove school district for the past six years, and Bentzel said that has increased the safety of the district and has provided students with positive exposure to police.
The grant is given by the state Safe Schools office, and would be for 12 months. After that, the school district would have to fund the full cost of the officer in the district.
Officer funding: Bentzel said the full $90,000 would come "close" to funding an officer for a year, but added the decision shouldn't just be based on finances.
"I personally don't believe you should do it because the money is there," he said. "You should do it because it's the right thing to do."
Bentzel said when the grant was originally written and signed in November 2012, the school board had approved it and signaled the members were serious about pursuing the option of having an officer in the district. But the board will still have to make a final decision in the next months, especially because three new board members took their seats in December.
Board President Terry Emig said the board members will have to decide individually if they want to put money toward supporting an officer in the district long-term. Emig said it's likely the district would still need to supplement some pay for the officer next year, and would need to pay the full cost in following years.
The district is looking at a deficit of about $6 million for the next school year. Emig said he is not sure if the board will take a vote at its next meeting or discuss it and give the members time to consider it for a later date. Emig said he's still undecided on how he will vote.
The next school board meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 27, in the district administration office.
-- Reach Nikelle Snader at email@example.com.