Eastmont Schools Moving Forward to Hire Second School Resource Officer
The Eastmont School District is moving forward with the hiring of a second School Resource Officer (SRO) after a unanimous vote of the school board Monday evening.
The position will be for the same pay scale as the existing position, but it’s not clear how it'll be financed as it is not funded through the East Wenatchee Police Department.
Chief Rick Johnson says a federal grant program will fund the position, but it's too late in the process to hire an officer this fall.
"The deadline for this coming school has came and passed, and there were problems with our application," said Johnson. "So, our first shot at it would not be this coming school year, but the next one."
Johnson said once the federal grant is in place, funding would be ongoing for a time.
"That grant does cover the first three years of salary for an SRO position, as long as long as both parties agree to continue it," Johnson said.
The chief also said he received assurance from 8th District U.S. Representative Kim Schrier in a Friday meeting that she would do everything on her end to ensure the federal money would become available.
The vote by the school board came during a Safety Review Update for the upcoming school year that included Assistant Superintendent Matt Charlton, Executive Director Spencer Taylor and Chief Johnson, as well as new Eastmont Superintendent Becky Berg, who was sworn in at the beginning of Monday's meeting.
The district beefed up security at the end of the last school after two expelled students reportedly ran into the junior high campus with a weapon before being arrested.
All exterior doors were locked from the start of school until dismissal.
Visitors were admitted through a bell or buzzer system at the discretion of staff members, and all schools had supervision at entry and exit doors during arrival and dismissal times.
In addition, East Wenatchee Police and the Douglas County Sheriff’s Department provided additional support during the final days of the school year.
Chief Johnson said Monday that five law enforcement personnel were present on a daily basis at the end of the school year.
Retired Superintendent Garn Christensen said the decision to beef up security was based on local criminal gang activity, the Uvalde, Texas shooting, and a direct recommendation from Chief Johnson.
Eastmont Administrators are still considering what safeguards to continue into the next school year.