The Oregon School Board gave its unanimous support Monday evening to providing extra security for high school students.
The board approved an intergovernmental agency agreement with the City of Oregon to share the costs of a school resource officer beginning Jan. 3 when classes resume after the Christmas break.
Plans call for Oregon Police Sergeant Randy Cropp to be on duty full-time at high school initially and then spend time in the other buildings later on as details are worked out.
Superintendent Tom Mahoney said security is just part of the services Cropp will offer students.
“An SRO will be a valuable resource for our students and staff,” he said. “In addition to providing the school community with additional security, the SRO will be a resource through the relationships he will build with our students. These relationships usually lead to early intervention when problems arise. Also we believe he will be able to provide some guidance to students who are interested in being a first responder or joining our military.”
Mahoney said earlier that the school board’s decision to have an SRO in place as soon as possible was prompted by an incident last May at Dixon High School when a student was taken into custody by an SRO after firing shots at a teacher during graduation practice in the gym.
According to the agreement with the city, the school district will pay 70 percent of the cost, and the city will pick up the remaining 30 percent.
Oregon Mayor Ken Williams estimated the initial cost for the first year of the SRO at just under $90,000 for Cropp’s salary and benefits and the necessary equipment.
The city’s portion, around $28,000, will come from the General Fund.
Mahoney said the school will pay its share from the Tort Fund.
The city council has already approved buying a used 2014 Dodge Charger for the SRO.
During the summer, when school is out, the SRO will work as a patrol officer for the city, Williams said.
The officer will also be available to fill in for other officers when they are on vacation, reducing overtime costs, he said.
Last month, the city council approved placing a referendum on the April ballot asking City of Oregon taxpayers to pick up the city’s share of the cost after the initial start-up period.
Williams said the referendum will ask for just over two cents per $100 equalized assessed valuation, which translates into $20.67 per year on a house valued at $100,000.
That will bring in an estimated $29,000 per year, he said.
If approved, the tax increase will appear on property tax bills in 2020.