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School Security on Agenda for Brewster Board of Ed

The meeting is set to begin at 6:30 this evening, with a possible executive session starting immediately.

Officials with the Brewster Central School District are slated to discuss security issues—and the associated costs—at a board of education meeting this evening.

Deputy Superintendent Timothy Conway is scheduled to provide the update during the presentations portion of the meeting. Shortly thereafter the board will likely approve a resolution calling for aid from New York State to help cover the cost of school resource officers (SRO). Officials recently increased the number of SROs at Brewster from two to three.

"The parents have been extremely happy about the whole thing," said Brewster Board of Education President Dr. Stephen Jambor.

In Brewster's case, the SROs are typically deputies with the Putnam County Sheriff's Office. Prior to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, two SROs, one at Brewster High School and one between C.V. Starr Intermediate School and Henry H. Wells Middle School, worked in the district.

A few days after the tragedy, the district arranged for a third SRO to oversee John F Kennedy Elementary School, the fourth and final Brewster school.

Funding for the SROs in the middle and high schools is split, half and half, between the district and Putnam County. That means a cost, to Brewster schools, of about $50,000 annually for each deputy.

Historically, in this area and the state at large, SROs have not been placed in elementary schools, Jambor said. The cost, roughly $100,000, for the SRO at JFK will fall entirely on the district, so the board is looking to Albany for support.

"At this point in time it comes out of the contingency fund," Jambor said, adding that there is "no more money anymore." "It's a short-term solution. We want a better approach moving forward."

He and other board members are hoping for good attendance, and lots of feedback, at the meeting.

"We feel it is worth it," Jambor said of the additional SRO.

A ban on assault weapons may be another piece of the discussion, according to Jambor. 

Click here for the full agenda, which lists more than a dozen items. The meeting is set to take place the district office (30 Farm to Market Road) and begin at 6:30 this evening (Tuesday), with a possible executive session starting immediately. 

Do you plan to attend the meeting? Are you in support of the additional SRO? Tell us in the attached comments section.

Ashley Tarr January 08, 2013 at 02:25 PM
A few other things to keep in mind: -According to Jambor, the resolution regarding funding for the SRO is not a new one. "It has some years on it," he said, adding that the New York State School Boards Association endorsed the measure years ago, but it "fell on deaf ears" in Albany. That could happen again this time around, Jambor told Patch. -Jambor spoke about the value SROs add to the school setting, saying they are more than just armed guards, but "extensions of the educational teams." Take a look at the video above for more on this topic. -The district's safety committee has been very active in the past few weeks, Jambor noted. He said that activity consists of walking tours, several rounds of interviews with building leaders and more, to identify potential security issues.

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