Shenandoah School Administration Building

Shenandoah School Administration Building

(Shenandoah) – Shenandoah’s School District could become the latest KMAland district with a regular law enforcement presence.

At its regular meeting late Monday afternoon, the Shenandoah School Board approved a request to the School Budget Review Committee for a modified supplemental amount and supplemental aid for the 2020-2021 Dropout Prevention Program totaling more than $269,000. Among other things, the request includes funding to cover a portion of the costs of a school resource officer—a position that would be shared with Shenandoah Police. Shenandoah School Superintendent Dr. Kerri Nelson tells KMA News the district has looked at having an officer in the schools for a long time.

“Last year, we were a little short of the funds necessary in At-Risk to make this work for us and the city,” said Nelson. “This year, we are in a position where we think we can fund approximately 25-to-30% of this out of At-Risk funds. But if we really want to do this, we’ll have to revisit the conversation, and add general fund dollars to support having a school resource officer.”

At first, plans called for the city and school district to split the costs of the officer. However, Nelson says it now looks like the district may have to cover 75% of the position, with the officer spending the rest of his time with the city.

“We reserved enough funding that would pay for approximately half time of a position,” she said. “The problem was, there’s a little bit of an error in the calculation between the city and the school, and not all the insurance was calculated into this. So, the position will cost more for a half-time position. It actually comes out to about a third, rather than half that we would be able to pay with At-Risk funds.”

Nelson says the question facing the board is whether to use money from the district’s general fund to pay for the remaining costs.

“If we really want to have a school resource officer,” said Nelson, “the city can’t do it for the amount of money we have reserved. We can’t do it independently. So after the city forms its budget, we’ll have to have a discussion about can we add additional funds with general fund dollars.’

A decision is expected at the board’s next regular meeting in February. If the board opts not to use general fund money to cover the position’s remaining costs, Nelson says it’s possible the At-Risk dollars could be reallocated to other programs.