Fredonia Village took away officer

Fredonia school residents are justified in speaking their minds in seeking the return of a school resource officer. But in doing so, they are taking it out on the wrong entity.

On April 13, 2015, Village Board members Janel Subjack, Joseph Cerrie and Phyllis Jones decided to terminate the school resource officer agreement with the district — and never even attempted to reach out to the schools to discuss a solution. They did so, partly out of necessity, since there would be a budget deficit due to the closing of Carriage House.

There was no public protest at the time to the village and there has been little since — until recent Fredonia school board meetings.

To this Village Board’s credit, it tried to work out a deal with the school. But one party in February reneged on the opportunity. Knowing how dysfunctional and uncooperative the village can be, we believe it was them. School board President Michael Bobseine spoke quite candidly about what the district was offering in a Feb. 17 OBSERVER article.

“To our thinking, the village asked for $40,000 annually to provide the district a part-time SRO. The district used to pay the village $22,000 annually. After meeting with village officials, our board authorized a prorated, two-year contract that would pay the village the equivalent of $35,000 annually for a set numbers of hours weekly,” he said.

“After receiving our proposal, the village sent the district another counterproposal. The counterproposal did not provide A) the assurance for services and accounting that we asked for; and B) was not prorated as we proposed.”

So why is there no officer in Fredonia schools? In a nutshell:

¯ Previous Village Board members eliminated the position without any discussion with the district.

¯ Attempted agreements, which included more money from the district, cannot be settled upon, specifically by the village.

Bottom line: the village handles the policing. It can certainly spare an officer from Monday to Friday for even two to three hours at the school. If an event happens that forces the officer to leave, that is still better than no officer at all.

At least 1,500 people are at that district campus from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday to Friday nine months a year. A police presence at that site in the village makes sense.

Elected village officials have the authority to make this happen. Hearing anything else is just one more excuse.

COMMENTS