WCSD approves adding school resource officer

After years of discussions and negotiations, Warren County School District is about to have a school resource officer.

The SRO — a Warren County Sheriff’s Office deputy — will be assigned to the district full-time — 40 hours per week.

The sheriff’s office was the right choice for the district.

“Our schools lie in multiple jurisdictions,” Superintendent Amy Stewart said.

Youngsville Elementary Middle School and Youngsville High School are under the jurisdiction of the Youngsville Borough Police Department, Beaty-Warren Middle School falls under the City of Warren Police Department, and all of the other schools — Eisenhower, Sheffield, and the other three central attendance area schools — are all covered by the Pennsylvania State Police.

“The sheriff’s office would be the entity that has that county-wide jurisdiction,” Stewart said.

And, since the district was looking to hire one officer to start, that flexibility was key.

“We didn’t feel we could afford an SRO in each school,” she said. “We can put ourselves in an affordable position and at least get going. We felt this was the best place to get started.”

School board member Marcy Morgan asked about the qualifications of the SRO with respect to dealing with students.

“The sheriff’s office is already proactively sending multiple officers to training that is specifically for officers in schools,” Stewart said. “For them to be able to get in there and build some relationships with our students will be extremely helpful.”

“I think it’s a tremendous opportunity to put forth to our kids,” board member Jack Werner said. “We provide them with a great service with this.”

Stewart said she will look to get the officer program up and running in the next few weeks.

QZAB

The board approved moving forward with some Qualified Zone Academy Bonds.

Jamie Doyle of PFM, the district’s financial advisor, said it is likely that the district will be able to get a zero interest rate for the QZAB funding that is already approved.

“All signs point to that being an option,” Doyle said.

The district has about $2.5 million in QZAB funding remaining for the Warren Area High School renovation project and another $5 million in the pipeline for the Warren County Career Center project.

Those allocations expire at the end of December. The district does not have to spend them by then, but must have found a financing agent to provide those funds by then.

The district is saving a great deal of money by utilizing QZAB funds rather than other financing.

“The net benefit on the remaining two pieces is projected to be about $5.4 million,” Doyle said.

The district has utilized QZAB funding for several major renovation projects. The program has been a financial boon.

“We’re projecting that you will have saved $20 million over five different QZABs over their life,” Doyle said.

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