LISBON - With concerns about school safety in the forefront, the Crestview Board of Education this week voted to hire off-duty sheriff's deputies to spend time in the buildings during school hours.
Superintendent John Dilling said up until this time, "Sheriff Ray Stone has been very gracious" by allowing deputies to stop by the Crestview schools and other county schools during the day. However, the board now has voted to pay off-duty deputies $25 per hour for helping provide a police presence around the buildings.
Dilling said he was at a meeting recently with the officials of other local schools, State Sen. Joe Schiavoni (D-Boardman) and Attorney General Mike DeWine. The discussion was about where local schools are when it comes to security and what needs to be done.
While he notes paying a deputy to rotate time between the high, middle and elementary schools may not be a good long-term plan, Dilling said it is at least helpful to have a security presence at the buildings. In the future, perhaps there could be money available again for school resource officers.
"There's just not funding for the type of security we need to secure a public building," Dilling said.
The buildings at Crestview are open for various functions, including as polling places, blood drives and for events such as the Veteran's Day program. Dilling said the board may at some point need to look at some of the policies, but added "we can't lock it down all the time."
The board approved the deputies James Cannon, Willie Coleman, Michael Helman, Brandon Hoppel, Richard Kimble, Jon Price, Tricia Quinn and Kevin Shulas to come to the schools. Parents and students may see the presence of a deputy on Tuesday when classes resume.
Funding security is not the only financial issue which was discussed by the board on Wednesday. Board member John Garwood gave a report about funding proposals for school districts through the state of Ohio.
Dilling and Treasurer Charlene Mercure said Crestview had its state funding cut each year starting in 2009. Crestview has been placed into the guarantee category for funding, which is proposed to go away in about two years. Dilling noted that while state funding has increased for schools, Crestview and many others have not received any of it. Most of it reportedly went to large city schools and a few suburban ones.
In other matters before the board:
-Two students, E.J. Miller and Preston Styrene, gave a presentation to the board describing their trip to Washington, D.C., for the presidential inauguration with other gifted students from four Columbiana County schools. The students went to a long list of monuments and museums including the Smithsonian, the 911 Pentagon Memorial, the Library of Congress, the Holocost Museum, the Washington Monument, Arlington Cemetery, plus several war veteran monuments, presidential monuments and the Martin Luther King Jr. monument.
-An executive session was held at the end of the meeting to evaluate Dilling and Mercure. During the meeting, the board announced Mercure received an award from the Auditor of State for the school's most recent audit.
"It's help from everybody in my office," Mercure said as the board applauded her.
-The board approved the resignation of Andrea Munnell, a middle school teacher.