The Lonoke School Board approved an increase in school resource officers during its Monday night meeting.
In an effort to beef up security on the district campuses, board president Ross Moore said he spoke with Lonoke Police Chief Randy Mauk about adding additional security to the school campuses. At this time the district has two resource officers, who are contracted for nine months of the year.
“I talked with Chief Mauk and if we are willing to take the rest of the budgeted amount for the two existing resource officers, they would be willing to put two more in place,” Moore said. “One at primary school and one the elementary school.”
According to Moore, once the district takes on the remaining salaries of the two district resource officers, those officers would no longer be called off campus for any calls, with the exception of an emergency.
“Then the other two schools would have someone in their building,” Moore said. “Of course I saw a great opportunity to make that happen. I know he is very concerned about safety on our campuses. I believe he has told them to move around and not just stay at one place. This would give them the opportunity to stay at the high school and the middle school, and then the primary and elementary who before have not, would have someone.”
As the former high school principal, Moore expressed his reservations in requesting an officer to the high school campus, when they were on another campus.
“I was so hesitant to call,” Moore said. “Because I don’t want to take them away from the other school, but sometimes you just had to.”
Moore estimated the cost to the district would be around $23,000 to take on the remaining officer salaries
“I just think it’s a big gain for the school, to have those folks,” Moore said.
“And an officer in uniform is a little bit more intimidating,” Angela Sumner said.
“It’s worth its weight it gold,” Darrell Park said.
In a unanimous vote, the board approved to take over the full salaries of the existing school resource officers and the city to supply resource officers for the primary and elementary schools.
Lonoke Police Chief Randy Mauk said on Tuesday morning, the increased security at the elementary and primary school would begin immediately.
“I plan on putting two part time officers at the schools, beginning of next school year,” Mauk said. “Until then our street officers we have available will be filling in that capacity.”
During the informational portion of the meeting, Stephanie Price introduced the idea of district wrestling team, Eagle School Ethan Lagdon spoke to the board about building a walkway across the ditch at the high school for bus riders and Kathy Hanlon with the Arkansas Public School Resource Center spoke to the board about purchasing cards. No action was taken.
Board members Charles Hunter and Anne Swint were absent from the meeting.
Also during the meeting, the board unanimously voted to:
- Approve the school of choice resolution for the Lonoke School District
- Approve the revised English Learn Plan
- Authorize the e-rate purchase of $3,706.43 for an upgrade for network switches at Lonoke Primary School through CXTec
- Authorize the e-rate purchase of $1,742.55 to upgrade the fiber optic cable in two locations at the high school through Skyrider
- Accept the resignation of Lydia Skinner as high school nurse and cheer coach effective March 30
- Adopt the Arkansas School Board association board policy recommendations
The next Lonoke School Board meeting will be at 6 p.m. on April 16 in the administration building.