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Belgrade School District hopes to bring back police presence

By Lauren Maschmedt, KTVM Anchor, lmaschmedt@ktvm.com
Published On: Feb 19 2013 10:38:25 PM MST
Updated On: Feb 19 2013 11:02:42 PM MST
Belgrade School Board
BELGRADE, Mont. -

The Belgrade School District says they're looking at ways to make schools safer, by bringing back School Resource Officers.

At a board meeting Tuesday night, Superintendent Candy Lubansky said recent school violence across the country is causing concern.

So they're going to ask voters to chip in on a Mill Levy this May during school elections. Voters will decide whether to partially fund three School Resource Officers (SROs). She said the school hopes the Belgrade Police Department or Gallatin County Sheriff's Office will finance the rest.

Lubansky handed out the plan at the meeting. She said they'd like to have one full time SRO each for the high school and middle school, and a third for the elementary schools.

The district used to have SROs, but couldn't afford funding after the D.A.R.E. program was cut from the schools.

Lubansky said in the wake of recent school violence like Sandyhook, it's a priority to bring them back.

This also comes just after a Belgrade High student brought a gun to school- though Lubansky said their plan was in the works well before that.

"There is a bit of recent research that supports an SRO as being the most effective deterrent to intruders" she said, adding "but it's more about problem-solving relationships."

She said having police presence in the schools will allow law enforcement to develop important relationships with the students. It can also help in early intervention before violence occurs, she said.

The Mill Levy would also fund staff- such as teachers, a principle, secretary, custodians and cooks- to support the new elementary school and enrollment increases. And, it'd continue pay increases determined during the 2011-12 school year.

The district hasn't yet decided the amount, but approved moving forward Tuesday night so they can get that figure in place ahead of the May election.