Cumberland Times-News

Local News

March 12, 2013

Board mulls hiring more officers for area schools

CUMBERLAND — The Allegany County Board of Education tabled a vote Tuesday to approve its $110M operating budget for 2014 so it may secure funding and arrange provisions to add five school resource officers to provide security for outlying schools.

“Can we not afford to do this,” asked Ed Root, board president. “We’re talking about the lives of our young people.”

David Cox, superintendent of schools, requested that, in addition to officers, two additional mental health professionals be added for the school system to help recognize and recommend care for more acute mental health cases.

Cox felt simply adding armed security guards was not enough. “I feel the plan needs to be comprehensive,” he said.

Cox said hiring the five school resource officers and two specially trained counselors would add around $470,000 to the annual budget.

The school system has four police officers who patrol the schools in Cumberland, Frostburg and one for the Eckart Alternative School.

According to the board, the additional officers would cover the following schools: Westmar Middle School, Mount Savage School, Westernport, George’s Creek, Cash Valley, Parkside, Flintstone, Bel Air and Cresaptown Elementary.

A public meeting on school security with county officials, the sheriff’s department and members of the board will be at 9 a.m. on Monday at the county facility of Kelly Road.

The board is expected to vote of the 2014 budget with the new security measures on Tuesday at a public meeting at the board’s Central Office.

Greg Larry can be contacted at glarry@times-news.com.

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