By John Balch
The South Pike County School Board has decided not to employ its own School Resource Officer and will instead join the county’s two other schools in an agreement for the service to be provided by the Pike County Sheriff’s Department.
The board voted last week to enter into a tentative agreement, which has not yet been finalized, with the PCSD for use of an officer for 10 months per year. There is currently a verbal agreement among South Pike, Kirby and Centerpoint districts for the district to pay $50,000 per year for an officer, car, weapon and uniforms.
“This allows the school resource officer to have all the authority of a police officer,” explained Superintendent Roger Featherston.
As a result, the district’s newly hired school resource officer, Wayne Epperly, will be required to resign from the school and rejoin the PCSD. Epperly’s first day on the job was scheduled to be July 1.
The Pike County Quorum Court and PCSD are currently trying to obtaining grant funds to help pay for the school resource officer program.
All three school superintendents have verbally agreed to pick up the remaining costs after the grant, which last for three years. On the fourth year of the program, funding would be completely dependent on the local level.
In 2009, the cost of an officer was listed at $39,490.03. The estimates for each officer in 2018 is $49,681.66, with a salary of $34,580 and the remaining costs being composed of social security, retirement fund, insurance, unemployment and workman’s compensation payments.
If the grant is not obtained, the issue will be revisited by the quorum court.
In other school security business, the board approved a $33,046 bid from Intrepid Technologies for magnetic door locks on the main entrances at buildings on both elementary campuses and the high school. The locks will have an “audio/video doorbell” connected to the front offices. Magnetic locks were also approved for the cafeterias at Delight and Murfreesboro plus two other locks on the MHS campus.
Also last week, the board approved a bid by Ricky Branch of Murfreesboro to paint the Activity Room, Band Room and bus shop for approximately $25,000.
The board also voted to hire Regina Huskey as Delight Elementary School third grade teacher and Kristy Benight as MHS special education teacher.