NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) – The effort to keep School Resource Officers in the elementary schools across New Hanover County has passed its deadline, according to one local leader.
Sheriff Ed McMahon set May 1 as the day he needed to know how to prepare his budget and staff for next fiscal year.
In an email to the New Hanover County Commissioners and School Board, McMahon asked what to do next without any direction. He recommended 11 deputies floating around 26 schools as the minimum coverage option.
The proposal would cost slightly more than $1 million. Salary and benefits total about $614,000, plus a one-year cost for equipment at a bit more than $386,000.
The Board of Education unanimously endorsed the plan on April 16. But a different board decision is what keeps the SRO discussion on-going.
Woody White, Chairman of the County Commissioners, said everyone is waiting on the results of a school security analysis. The school board set aside up to $200,000 for the study in January.
White said he understands the urgency from the sheriff, but he does not want to rush a $1 million decision for deputies.
"We might need some more, less or none," he said. "We just don't know if there's a need to fund it until we have that assessment."
As of this report, New Hanover County's budget for next year does not include SROs. White mentioned that the school system did not include SROs in its initial funding request for fiscal year 2013-2014.
The county's recommended budget is scheduled for presentation to the board on May 20, with the fiscal year ending June 30.
Budget amendments can be made after a budget is approved.
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