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Brooke School Board PRO acquiesces less than expected | News, Sports, Jobs

WELLSBURG — On Monday, the Brooke County School Board agreed to contribute funds for sheriff’s deputies to serve as school resource officers, but the amount is still less than the Brooke County commission had hoped, which which does not allow to know if a resolution of the case is close. .

After a nearly two-hour executive session, the board unanimously accepted Superintendent Jeffrey Crook’s recommendation that the school district pay $67,500, or 76% of the $88,000 in salaries and benefits for each of the three assistants to serve in the schools.

Crook estimated the total cost at $202,000 per year for a five-year proposal.

But the board has not approved a formal deal for the officers, and the amount does not include the additional 76% requested by the commission for officer training and equipment, estimated at around $80,000.

When asked if the move would bring negotiations between the two sides back to square one, Crook said: “I think we are still moving forward. I hope we are.

Crook said such negotiations require give and take between the two groups and both “try to be good stewards of public money.”

Following the ruling, board members Dr. E. Robert Marks and Stacy Hooper said the board wanted to provide a safe environment for students and staff through the placement of officers.

In recent years, the sheriff’s department has secured state grants for officers, who have been trained to serve as liaisons between local law enforcement and students and handle crises in schools, such as than the threat of an active shooter.

After state funding became less available, school officials lobbied to have agent funding included in the district’s five-year operating fee, which was renewed by voters in 2019.

But a shortfall in the levy led school officials to seek financial support from the county commission, which said it could not afford to keep them without the levy funds.

The school board has since hired a former sheriff’s deputy and resource officer to serve at Brooke High School and supervise a Wellsburg police officer serving at Brooke Middle School, under an agreement with the city, and officers of security employees in other schools.

County commission chairman AJ Thomas – who was called in to comment – said Monday’s vote did not reflect terms discussed at a meeting of county and school officials last week.

“I expected them to vote for what we discussed at this meeting and I’m disappointed,” he said adding “lots of thought” was put into an agreement proposal concluded then.

County Attorney Joseph Barki, legal counsel for the board, said school board attorneys were to draft an agreement that appeared to address legal language that had been an obstacle for the board before.

Thomas noted that neither group has yet approved a formal deal.

“We cannot vote on a number. We have to vote on a contract,” he said.

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