Franklin school board OKs police officer in schools

Franklin board OKs full-time police officer in schools

A school resource officer will be back in Franklin City Schools starting this fall.

The Franklin Board of Education unanimously approved the hiring of a full-time school resource officer for the first time in more than a decade.

District officials had been working with city officials as well as the Warren County Educational Resource Center officials since November to develop a plan to hire school resource officers. Last month, the initial proposal was to share a school resource officer with the Warren County Educational Services Center’s two learning centers in Franklin who would also serve the high school and junior high school. Both entities would pay 37.5 percent during the school year while the city would pay 25 percent the remaining three months for the costs for the officer’s salary and benefits, a cruiser and equipment.

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The approval to hire the new school resource officer is contingent on the board’s attorney review and approval of the proposed contract with the city.

Superintendent Michael Sander said the bulk of the savings was the result of the district’s investments into technology and use of digital materials as well as other savings such as building improvements in lighting and air conditioning. Following the budget review, just more than $100,000 was found and will not and in other areas amounted to just more than $100,000 after a thorough review by district administrators.

Sander said the decision emphasizes that student safety is a number one priority for the district.

MORE: Franklin schools will consider adding a police officer in the high school after more than a decade

Board President Chris Sizemore said it was “exciting” that the district’s other investments were able to fund this SRO. He added the district wanted to provide the best protection for students and staff.

Board member Bob Knipper said an SRO is “something we need in this day and age.”

“What a tremendous step forward for our district and students,” said Board Member Lori Raleigh. “I couldn’t be happier.”

The board also unanimously approved the four-year extension of Sander’s contract through July 31, 2023. Sander’s current salary is $120,822 a year.

Sizemore said that the district under Sander’s watch has accomplished a lot but there was more work to do in the coming years.

Raleigh praised Sander for his efforts, adding that the “board wants to keep continuity…. but most importantly, you want to be here. You’re a jewel for this district.”

INITIAL REPORT: 

Key personnel questions will be considered tonight as the Franklin Board of Education is expected to determine if the district should hire full-time and part-time school resource officers as well as consider a four-year contract extension for its superintendent.

Superintendent Michael Sander said he will be recommending that the district hire a school resource officer on a full-time basis starting this fall.

If approved, it would mark the first time in more than a decade that Franklin Schools has had a school resource officer.

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During its work session two weeks ago, the board agreed to a recommendation to hire a part-time school resource officer, but asked district administrators to look at the budget to determine if funds could be found to make it a full-time position.

Last month, the initial proposal was to share a school resource officer with the Warren County Educational Services Center’s two learning centers in Franklin.

Two weeks ago, board members said they were more inclined for the district to have its own school resource officer, who would also patrol the district’s elementary schools if funding could be found in the budget.

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Sander said administrators spent a large amount of time going through its budget accounts and identifying additional cost cutting measures that would result in minimal impacts to the district. He said funds were found in energy savings as well as in using more digital materials in the classroom.

“This will not have any negative effect on student learning,” he said.

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In other action, the board is expected to approve a four-year contract extension for Sander, who was hired in 2013. Sander, who has one year on his current contract, receives a salary of $120,822 a year.

“We’re doing good for a lot of kids,” Sander said. “I love it here.”

The Franklin Board of Education meets at 6 p.m. tonight, March 26, at the Hampton Bennett Building, 150 E. Sixth St.

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