Blue Earth adding resource officer

BLUE EARTH – Blue Earth Area School Board approved a budget proposal for 2014-15 that includes adding a school resource officer.

Superintendent Evan Gough said he has been talking with the Faribault County Sheriff’s Office about the position.

“It kind of became evident it was a need and a desire to have a resource officer,” Gough said. “With five communities, it made sense to work with the county because they have a countywide reach.

“The world we live in, it’s important to have safety and security experts in your school building,” Gough said. “We have 1,500 students and adults in our three buildings and that’s bigger than a lot of towns that have full-time cops.”

“Recently, we put some numbers together,” said Sheriff Mike Gormley.

The cost of an officer will be $83,105, including wages, insurance and benefits, as well as equipment and vehicle costs. The school’s portion would be $62,328, with the county picking up the rest.

“You pay nine months of the year, we pay three,” said Chief Deputy Scott Adams. “During the nine months of the school year, the school would be his obligation.”

The officer would undergo training that pertains to working with kids, he said, adding that there were four deputies interested in the position.

“Happy to know the county’s willing to step up,” said Jesse Haugh, board member. “It’s a much-needed position.”

In other school news, staff changes were announced.

Luke Beyer will move from teaching kindergarten to fourth grade, Jennie Esser from sixth grade to fifth grade, and Al Cue from assistant principal to teaching sixth grade.

“We reduced a kindergarten section and had a fourth grade opening,” Gough explained. “We had a fifth grade opening, which created the sixth grade opening.”

Gough also announced he expects to hire a new assistant principal sometime this week.

In technology news, Gough said bids for Chromebooks came in under budget. Students in grades 8-12 will be able to take the devices home. As for grades 6-7, he said, “We’ll see.” Students in grades 3-5 will not be allowed to take them home. Neither will students in kindergarten through second grade with their iPad minis.