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Lebanon schools fund two SROs

Caitlin Rickard • Dec 17, 2015 at 5:17 PM

The Lebanon Special School District Board of Education Thursday approved funding for more school resource officers.

Last month, Director of Schools Scott Benson spoke to the Wilson County Budget Committee about funding for the officers.

In the past, the county put SROs in all county schools and the LSSD added two to their middle schools.

To have full coverage for all the elementary schools, the LSSD needed four more SROs, but Benson told committee members in August they didn’t anticipate paying for any additional officers.

Benson, along with county budget committee members then worked out a solution to have LSSD pay for two additional officers and the county pay for the other two, which would reach Lebanon schools’ total need.

At the board meeting Thursday, Benson said he thought everyone could agree that the LSSD wanted and needed SROs in all schools.

Benson asked the board to consider paying for the two additional SROs for this school year until the LSSD and the county can come up with a long-term solution.

The two additional officers would cost $60,000 per officer, for a total cost of $120,000 for the new SROs. The LSSD already pays $120,000 for the two SROs it currently has.

Board chairman Steve Jones said the cost didn’t matter to him when it came to an issue such as this.

“To me, you can’t put a price on keeping kids safe so whatever we need to do I want to do it,” Jones said.

The board then voted to fund the two additional SROs and, in doing so, also voted to amend the budget in order to pay for the officers.

The board also voted to put the LSSD tax rate at .45 cents and approve a Tennessee code that would put the district in compliance with the state’s textbook codes.

The code states that the board must comply and agree that all children enrolled in the local education system have been furnished with all required textbooks.

The next board meeting will be Nov. 11 at 5 p.m.

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