IW supervisors turn down SRO grant

Published 11:31 am Friday, July 26, 2013

ISLE OF WIGHT—At the end of the string attached for a new full-time resource officer in Isle of Wight county elementary schools is a high price tag. So much so that the Board of Supervisors had to turn down the offer.

This past spring, IOW Sheriff Mark Marshall had sought a $50,000 grant from the state to get such a person.

“We applied for a position, and we received notification that requires board acceptance,” said Marshall. “The caveat required a match, and it was a significant. The amount is not just for salary and fringe benefits, but also expenses such as a car and equipment.”

In the first year, he said, the grant would have paid $28,710, but the county would also need to contribute $74,269. In the second year, the grant would have been $21,000, and it would have required the county pay almost $34,000. The third year’s grant would have been $14,000, with the local contribution being $41,000, and in the final year the grant would have been $7,100, with $48,000 contributed from the county.

“By the fifth year you’d pick up the whole amount,” said Marshall. “Given the economic climate of the county and revenues, they (the board members) made a decision they didn’t have the money in the checkbook to make that contribution.”

In response, IOW schools had this to say:

“We are disappointed that we will not receive the grant funding for the SRO that our school division desperately needs,” said Kenita Bowers, school spokeswoman. “In light of the tragedies that have taken place over the last year, our school division is continuing to put forth a strong effort to provide our students with a safe learning environment. We will continue to move forward with the measures that are already in place, however having another full-time SRO would have been an added benefit for our students and staff.”

Marshall assured that the two officers at the two high schools and the one alternating at middle schools remain in place for the school year.

Further, an officer travels back and forth from Carrsville to Hardy and Carrollton elementary schools.

Though not a fulltime presence, he said, “We are routinely in the schools daily, often several times a day.”

A satellite office with a computer has been set up at each site so the person can make reports without having to always return to headquarters.