Monday night, school board members approved an agreement between Peters Township School District and Peters Township on the hiring of an officer exclusively assigned to the district—working primarily at Peters Township High School.
The board voted 6-3, with Sandy Gregg, Sue Smith and Bill Merrell opposing.
The officer, paid at a rate not to exceed $45.28 per hour, started patrolling the high school on Monday—something Gregg said she was concerned about.
"How can we approve something after it started?" she said. Superintendent Nina Zetty said the discussion may have taken place prior to her joining the board this year—she also said an email went out to the board stating his job description.
Additionally, Gregg was concerned with cost to the district.
District Business Manager Dan Solomon estimated the pay rate would be closer to $38 per hour because Peters Township agreed to waive charges for the officer's health care costs.
Last week, district spokeswoman Shelly Belcher said the need for an officer is not a result of a threat or incident, but rather a decision to "aid preventative security efforts, and be an asset to students and staff."
The discussion to fulfill this position has continued for nearly two years. The school board and administration will continue to work with the township—reviewing the current budget—to determine if the position can be maintained long-term.
The officer will continue through the remainder of the school year. Peters administrators have worked with police, private security firms and written grants to help fund this position.
In our poll last Tuesday, 50 percent of Patch voters agreed having an officer was a good idea; 14 percent were indifferent; and 35 percent thought it was unnecessary.