Weekly Feature



2018-06-14 / Front Page

District receives $40,000 in state funding for school resource officer

by CHRIS GRAHAM
Editor


State Sen. Chris Jacobs, second from left, is flanked by school district officials and Police Chief Mark Pacholec to announce $40,000 in funding to provide a school resource officer for the district. From left are Superintendent Matthew McGarrity, Jacobs, Pacholec, Board of Education Vice President Christine Gray-Tinnesz; Jeff Petrus, the district’s assistant superintendent of business; David Lilleck, assistant superintendent of personnel and pupil services; and high school Principal Jonathan Wolf. 
Photo by Chris GrahamPurchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com State Sen. Chris Jacobs, second from left, is flanked by school district officials and Police Chief Mark Pacholec to announce $40,000 in funding to provide a school resource officer for the district. From left are Superintendent Matthew McGarrity, Jacobs, Pacholec, Board of Education Vice President Christine Gray-Tinnesz; Jeff Petrus, the district’s assistant superintendent of business; David Lilleck, assistant superintendent of personnel and pupil services; and high school Principal Jonathan Wolf. Photo by Chris GrahamPurchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com An attempt to keep Orchard Park schools safe received some help from Albany on Friday when state Sen. Chris Jacobs announced that $40,000 worth of funding had been secured for the school resource officer heading to the district in the fall.

Jacobs made the announcement with leaders from the district and Orchard Park Police Department.

Plans for an SRO have been discussed between the department and district for around five years but became a school budget priority this year due to a high number of school shootings in the country, Eggert Elementary parents advocating for the inclusion of an officer in the district, and high school students taking part in the National School Walkout in the wake of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida.

The plan to fund an SRO was included in the $102 million school budget, which was approved by voters in May.

“I have tried to help the school districts in the 60th Senate District who have come to me wanting more security, in particular school resource officers,” Jacobs said. “I do believe they’re a key partner in keeping our children safe in their schools.”

Jacobs added that the officer, expected to be in place by September, is far more than an armed presence in a school building, but rather a partner in the education process, forming bonds with students and stopping problems before they occur. The points raised by Jacobs also have been expressed by Superintendent Matthew McGarrity and Police Chief Mark Pacholec.

Thanking Jacobs for securing the funding, McGarrity believes the officer is another step in continuing the district’s commitment to staff and students.

“We have so many in place right now,” McGarrity said. “We have a great D.A.R.E. program with our fifth-grade students, and the students have a great rapport with the D.A.R.E. officers. That’s a big thing that we’re looking to have with the resource officer in the high school, and the other buildings as needed, to establish a rapport with students and staff.”

Pacholec, who said the funding from Jacobs should cover a third of the cost of the officer, told reporters interviews for the position will occur within the next month. The officer will come from the department and not be an outside hire.

To make the officer a reality, it has to be part of both the town and school budgets. Plans would have the district covering 75 percent of the cost, with the town taking on the other 25 percent.

email: cgraham@beenews.com

Return to top