By Louisa BenatovichStudent Reporter
After a presentation on Feb. 5, the Ellicottville Central School District is pondering the addition of a school resource officer (SRO) to its staff.
From the county’s SRO program, Lieutenant Brandon Walters presented to the Board of Education, outlining the benefits.
“An SRO is like a triangle,” says Walters, “He has three roles: police officer, counselor and teacher.”
The benefits of an SRO at ECS include increased campus security and school safety plan advisement.
“It’s not our job to write the plans,” says Walters, “but it’s our job to help.”
School resource officers foster positive interaction between law enforcement and students, serving as role models campus-wide. The mere sight of a police car in the parking lot can be a deterrent for any questionable activity.
An SRO works into the summer, potentially instructing drivers’ education and other safety courses. The program also sponsors an annual week-long summer camp in Central New York State. With an SRO at ECS, its students can attend.
Additionally, an SRO will work at the Cattaraugus County Fair, the local summer recreation programs and undergo additional training.
Though SROs work for the school, their schedule does not coincide with the scholastic one. With the extra hours accrued at afterschool events (e.g. basketball games, prom), an officer collects “comp hours” which he or she may use on school recess days including summer vacation. This allows the officer paid leave while still on duty.
Despite the benefits, an SRO comes with a cost. With salary and benefits, an officer can cost from $87,000 to $115,000 per year. Additionally, the school must purchase a vehicle (approx. $22,000) and equip it to police standards. This includes paint, radio and lights. It does not include gas and general maintenance.
“There are a lot of benefits to a school resource officer,” said Superintendent Robert Miller. “It is a great program, but it is expensive and we must proceed carefully looking forward to determine whether it is right for us.”
IN OTHER NEWS, the Class of 2020 presented their senior trip for board approval.
Cathy Nason, a junior class advisor, outlined the proposed trip in PowerPoint form. Though interest is usually an issue with such trips, the presentation stated that 36 out of the 40 juniors expressed a desire to attend.
Aimee Kilby, the other advisor, and Nason would accompany as chaperones. The departure date is proposed as Thursday, April 30, 2020, and the return date as Monday, May 4.
The proposed trip is to the Disney World Complex in Orlando, Florida. A three-day park pass (Friday, Saturday and Sunday) would be purchased with access to the Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Hollywood Studios and the Animal Kingdom.
The trip would cost approximately $500 per student, with the additional $200 plane ticket being covered by the class account. Through Disney’s Youth Education Series (YES) program, the trip promises to be an educational one, a caveat enforced on senior trips by the school.
The Board of Education has yet to approve the trip.