School district approves contract with county sheriff’s office

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By Dedra Cordle
Staff Writer

Law enforcement officials will continue to be a presence at the local high schools when in a non-virtual model.

At the Nov. 16 meeting, the South-Western City Schools board of education unanimously approved a new agreement with the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office to provide resource officers at Franklin Heights and Westland High Schools.

Under the terms of the agreement, the district will only be required to pay for services when a blended learning model or a full face-to-face model has been initiated. According to the contract, the monthly invoice will be prorated based on the number of days in such models, and the board will only be required to pay for the services when the deputy is on-site. The daily per-diem is $1,327.62 based on 177 student days and five paid holidays in the school year. The board will pay approximately $244,000 for the total cost of having one deputy serve at each high school.

Tim Donahue, the principal at Franklin Heights, said the school resource officers are an invaluable fixture at the district schools as they provide a sense of security for its students and the community at large. He went on to add that they often go above and beyond their duties at the school.

“Deputy (Dan) Fahy has become a part of our school community,” he said in a written statement. “Our students and families see him as a very positive resource in their school. He is present at a lot of our community events and volunteers his time with our Special Olympics and athletics programs.

“Franklin Heights benefits in so many ways from his presence and support.”

In addition to providing protection of the building premises, the resource officers are also required to investigate and document unruly, delinquent and criminal acts within the school and neighborhood; participate in classroom and school assemblies; and serve as a liaison with neighborhood businesses and residents in school related problems.

The district’s agreement with the Franklin County’s Sheriff’s Office is reviewed annually. The agreement that was voted on at the meeting was for the remainder of the 2020/21 school year. The district also has an agreement with the Grove City Division of Police to provide security services at Central Crossing and Grove City High Schools.

The board of education also renewed an agreement with the college readiness program, I Know I Can. Under the terms of the agreement, the district will pay $85,000 for the organization’s services for the 2020/21 school year.

The program, which began as a pilot program at Franklin Heights and Westland in 2018, places a college advising manager at each of the four high schools to help juniors and seniors prepare for post-high school education.

In addition to helping the students figure out their goals and potential career paths, the college advising managers also assist them with the admissions process, application essays, campus tours and financial aid packages.

Brad Faust, the district’s assistant superintendent of curriculum, said the district is fortunate to be a partner in this program.

“Our partnership with I Know I Can has been beneficial in helping students dream big,” he said. “For many, college may have seemed out of reach. With the personalized attention of IKIC, our students gain the confidence to know that their goals of higher education and technical training are attainable.”

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