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District 156 weighs adding school resource officer

Board slated to vote at meeting Monday on plan

Published: Saturday, Dec. 14, 2013 11:40 p.m. CDT • Updated: Saturday, Dec. 14, 2013 11:48 p.m. CDT

McHENRY – A school resource officer might return to the halls of McHenry High School’s east and west campuses.

The District 156 school board is set to vote at its meeting Monday evening on a proposal that would bring back one of the two officers the district used to have, Superintendent Mike Roberts said.

The officer would split time between the two campuses.

The McHenry City Council would also have to approve the intergovernmental agreement as well as the hiring of another officer to replace the one who would be moved into the schools. Neither item is on the council’s agenda for its meeting Monday.

Under the current proposal, District 156 would cover 70 percent of that new officer’s salary, not the salary of the more experienced – and more expensive – officer placed in the schools, Roberts said.

The school resource officer program was created in 1997 with one officer splitting time between the two schools, according to school board documents. A second officer was hired in 2000 when the city received a three-year grant.

The two positions were eliminated as part of a swath of cuts made in 2009 when the district had financial difficulties.

While discipline incidents and referrals have decreased over the past few years, an officer should have been called on 118 occasions – for violations that include fighting, battery, drug and alcohol possession or consumption, theft, threats and vandalism – but officers were actually called only 22 times, according to board documents.

Of 20 area high school districts surveyed, only one other high school does not have a school resource officer, according to a presentation made by Roberts to the board.

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