Friday, April 10, 2009

The Rest of the Story on the "Intent" to fund a 2nd PLO

Let's be clear that SP-EYE is not questioning the need for a 2nd Police Liaison Officer (PLO) at the new high school. What we question is how this whole deal transpired, after it was reported in the STAR 2 weeks ago that Chief Anhalt had received verbal commitment from Tim Culver that the district would cover 70% of the cost of the 2nd PLO when the COPS grant expires in 2012.

We are a little concerned about where the authority lines are drawn. Does Administration really have the authority to even agree to INTENT to fund something 3 years down the road without discussion at a public meeting?

Let's get real here....Chief Anhalt and Pat Cannon are trying to formulate a budget. The COPS grant would fund a 2nd PLO for 3 years. But they need to know what happens after that, because if they want to continue it and the district does not, that is a budget item the City needs to prepare for. It would seem that they need something firmer than "intent". Now, a draft letter dated April 13, 2009 is on the school board agenda for tomorrow night (4-13-09). We wonder if this would have happened had questions not been asked.

The school board "approves" each annual budget, but it is the ELECTORS that actually VOTE approval of said budget. Dr. Culver and the Management Team can put anything in a given budget. The electors (us... the taxpaying district residents) get to authorize a budget amount each year at the annual meeting. The electors don't get a say on the budget parameters; the only control we have over the budget is to send a message by voting a budget amount LESS than what the district wants. Then the school board and administration have to decide what to alter or cut in order to fit the budget within the budget ceiling voted on by the electors. So...if you disagree with a particular budget is best to tell the board early and often.

4-8-09 E-mail from Tim Culver to Rick Mealy responding to questions about the COPS grant.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009 10:41 AM
From: Tim Culver
Re: COPS grant

Mr. Mealy,

Sorry for the tardy response; I have been away the past week. I have had conversations with Pat Anhalt and Pat Cannon about this issue on March 20 and 27. They asked, if the district was interested in adding a second school police liaison officer (SPLO). I told him we were...that it was part of the conceptual planning for when the news HS opens in the fall of 2010. Pat asked for a letter of support in making a stimulus grant request that would fund a second SPLO for three years and asked if I would indicate that the school district would intend
to continue funding the position (as we do with the current one position... at 70%) when/if the grant funding ends. I indicated to him that I would be willing to do so, as long as it was clear that a future School Board would be setting parameters on the budget and while we can intend to do something in 2012, we could not guarantee it. That seemed acceptable to both. I informed the School Board on March 21 of this matter (see below). I will be sharing a draft of my letter to the City with the School Board for information under the District Administrator's report next Monday in case they wish to comment.

The three year school police liaison contract with the city expires at the end of this year and it will come to the School Board for consideration of renewal, likely in June. The contract will not specify the number of SPLOs.

Please let me know if you have further questions.


Tim Culver

3-21-09 E-mail from Tim Culver ...ostensibly to school board members
>>> Tim Culver > 3/21/2009 8:54 AM >>>

To: ?School Board??

I met with Police Chief Pat Anhalt yesterday. We agreed to get together periodically and share perspectives.... he is seeking to have the police be more connected with the community. Interesting discussion about the challenge of hiring minority officers...they have similar challenges and have been less successful than us.

An opportunity exists now as the city considers how to use their federal stimulus funding. One idea they have is to add a second school police liaison officer (SPLO). The Management Team has been intending to include a second SPLO in the budget for fall of 2010 with the idea of basing one at the 10-12 building and one at the 8-9 building then "zoning" the other schools between the two. This would be a natural part of our growth as a school district (and has been requested for a number of years by the principals).

The city's stimulus funding would completely fund such a new position for three
(federal budget) years.
[ Pat is getting me the exact calendar of funding based on their stimulus regulations so we can compare it to our funding cycle]. The city would like a letter of intent from the school district that (a) we are interested in a second SPLO and (b) when/if the federal funding runs out the school district would "intend" to fund the position similar to the current agreement we have with the city for our current SPLO position. One purpose of
this district letter (in my opinion) is to protect the city from the backlash they got when the (several years back) 'cops in school' funding was eliminated and they had to pull the 4 neighborhood officers out of the elementary schools.

Our opinion is this is something we need anyway as we grow; it gives us three years without cost; and then we can plan to absorb the cost two years after the new HS school opens instead of in the 2010 school year (when a lot of new costs come due). We could also decide at that time to eliminate the second position...we would have to own that decision based on our budget and any potential community/school concerns. The second SPLO would likely come into existence sometime during the next school year, which would also be useful in our last overcrowded year at the former SPHS.

This letter probably does not need Board approval (it is just an interest and intent). However if anyone wishes, I would be pleased to place this on the April 13 board agenda if you wish to discuss it. Just let me know. Also, if you have any questions, either for now or which you would like discussed on April 13, please let me know. Pat would like our letter by April 15 to meet their funding proposal timeline.