5/2/2013 1:42:00 PM School liasion position on hold
By Nora Bryson
The Cannon Falls School Board tabled Cannon Falls Police Chief Jeff McCormick's presentation on the benefits of a police liaison and board action to approve a liaison police officer joint agreement with the City of Cannon Falls indefinitely at the Monday night, April 22 meeting.
Superintendent Beth Giese had reported at the board's April 8 meeting that she had been in negotiations with the city since the Sandy Hook shooting trying to procure an officer to help secure the school. She said she thought they had come to an agreement, since the city admitted they could also use another 0.5 FTE on the force and the school only needed coverage for 174 days of the year.
But the city came back requesting the district pick up $10,000 per year of the expense and commit to three years (due to time and effort needed to properly recruit and train officers). Giese did not feel the district currently had $10,000 to spare and that the money the district was spending on adding cameras and improving the PA system at the elementary would probably do as much as an officer scattered among three buildings. But, she stated, it was still up to the board.
At that same April 8 meeting, board member Pat Dougherty asked the principals what they thought. Elementary Principal Derek Bell and High School Principal Tim Hodges agreed that they would prefer the money be used for keeping more teachers in the classrooms. Board member Rob Siebenaler voiced his skepticism over what could be accomplished through a police presence given the three campuses. Both he and Board member Brenda Owens requested more information before making a decision. McCormick was then put on the April 22 agenda as was board action on a police liaison position.
Both the Chief's presentation and the approval of a liaison police officer joint agreement with the City of Cannon Falls were stricken from the agenda Monday night. No follow-up date was given to resume the conversation.