The Union R-XI School Board will further discuss a need for a school resource officer (SRO) at Beaufort Elementary and meet with HTK Architects again to continue work on the new elementary school’s design Wednesday evening.
The monthly meeting will be Wednesday, July 11, at 7 p.m. in the high school’s board room.
While the school district and the city recently agreed to an understanding that will bring additional SROs into schools within city limits, some board members expressed frustration that no plans for an SRO at Beaufort had been made as of yet.
At the last meeting of the school board, members Aaron Bockhorst and Matt Borgmann were both concerned that a solution to security at Beaufort Elementary wasn’t addressed in the agreement or included in the 2018-19 fiscal year budget.
Borgman said ideally, the school should focus its attention on getting an SRO or some sort of security out at Beaufort Elementary because of the time it would take to respond to that school versus the other schools that are all near the center of town.
“I have a bigger concern about security at Beaufort. If we only have one SRO, that SRO should be in Beaufort, because of the distance,” Borgmann said. “We’ve done the opposite.”
At that same meeting, Superintendent Dr. Steve Weinhold said he was still having conversations with the Franklin County Sheriff’s Department about a solution but said that because of the sheer number of schools that are outside of city limits, assigning an SRO to Beaufort and not others would create a difficult precedent for the department to work with.
If the sheriff were to assign an SRO at a school like Beaufort, Weinhold said, every school outside of city limits might request an SRO as well, something the department wouldn’t be able to provide to every school.
The board briefly discussed the possibility of private security. Borgmann said he wondered if it might be smarter and better financially to contract with a private company that could provide security at each campus, instead of only four.
The board eventually approved the agreement with the city to add more SROs to the district. Further discussion on the issue will take place at the Wednesday night meeting.
After further exploring the SRO situation at Beaufort, HTK Architects, the firm hired to help design the many projects around the district and the new elementary school will visit for more feedback and direction on designs.
Schematics for final Beaufort Elementary plans that include building a new gym, a media center and turning a portion of space into classrooms are planned to be reviewed, along with more details on the elementary school.
At Beaufort, construction of a new storm-shelter gym will allow for existing space at the school to be remodeled into several classrooms, special education rooms, a media center and offices for counselors. The gym will replace the current gym/cafeteria and designate the room as just a cafeteria. It will be located on the south side of the school.
These additions came as a result of Prop Wildcats, a $27 million no-tax increase bond issue passed by voters in April.
The total cost of the renovation throughout the school district is estimated at approximately $25-31 million and will take place over the next few years.
The board also will discuss a new middle school reading program and bus trip rates.