Brunswick Co. Board of Education approves funds for more police - WECT, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

Brunswick Co. Board of Education approves funds for more police in schools

BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WECT) - The Brunswick County Board of Education approved the funds for school resource officers Tuesday evening.

Brunswick County approved $245,838 from the general fund balance to retain school resource officers in all elementary schools for the remainder of the 2012-2013 school year.

They also directed Superintendent Pruden to examine continued funding for 2013-2014. School resource officers are provided by the Brunswick County Sheriff's Office.

Monday afternoon, during a school liaison meeting, Brunswick County and school leaders came together to discuss safety measures and precautions being taken in elementary schools in their district.

School board officials in Brunswick county are thinking pro-actively after the tragic shootings in Newtown, CT last month which killed 26 people including 20 elementary school children.

In Brunswick County, deputies are not typically stationed at elementary schools, but following the school shooting in Connecticut, that has changed.

Currently off duty deputies are being paid overtime to work in schools.

Sheriff Jon Ingram says the sheriff's office simply doesn't have enough resources to continue to do that.

Tuesday, school board members discussed a proposal to allocate $245,000 from the general fund balance to pay the extra officers for the remainder of this school year.

Looking ahead to the 2013-2014 school year, Sheriff Ingram is requesting money to hire 9 new School Resource Officers, enough for each school to have their own.

The total cost of hiring those new officers in addition to new equipment could total more than $800,000.

Supt. Dr. Edward Pruden indicated the school system is willing to pay the officers' salary, which is roughly $500,000 pending approval from county commissioners.

The sheriff's office and the school board would negotiate the responsibility to cover equipment needs for those new deputies, which could total upwards of $300,000.

Despite the high expenses, Dr. Pruden says the school board is committed to making this happen even if it means reducing the number of instructional positions.  "You can't put a price on safety," said Pruden . "I think parents would be willing to have larger classes if it means keeping their children safer."

Members of the Brunswick county Board of Education met Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. to review the proposal for the remainder of this school year.

County manager Marty Lawing indicated the funding agreement will be reviewed for final approval but at this time he doesn't anticipate changes for 2013-2014.

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