MARION CENTER SCHOOL DISTRICT: Board takes security steps
March 26, 2013 10:40 AM

MARION CENTER — On split votes, the Marion Center Area school directors Monday instructed administrators to develop a job description for a school security officer and advertise the position.

The administrators were also directed to develop a school security officer staffing model that will outline how many hours per day the officer will provide protection, whether the protection will extend beyond the school day to after-school and extracurricular activities and where the officer will be stationed.

The motion was based on a handout distributed previously that suggested a part-time or full-time school security officer have “minimum qualifications of substantial demonstrated local, county, state, federal or military police or security detail experience or equivalent.”

“I think this is premature,” director Keith Isenberg said of the motion to develop a job description. The school board, Isenberg said, has given administrators no guidance as to whether a security officer for the Marion Center district should be armed.

Director Lori Marshall contended the three steps — developing a job description, developing a staffing model and then advertising the position — should be accomplished one at a time.

“We don’t have a clue what we’re doing,” Marshall said, adding she feels the description for minimum qualifications is too vague.

Director Karen Risinger also said she could not vote for the three-item security motions unless more details were included.

“It’s the minimum the administration needs” to keep the issue of more school security moving forward, based on comments from the directors, administrators, district residents, the district’s solicitor and state police officers over the past two months, said board President Gregg Sacco.

Developing a job description and staffing model and advertising the position will create a pool of candidates interested in the position, Sacco said.

The motion to develop a school security officer job description passed 7-2, with directors Sacco, Marshall, Charles Glasser, Charles LaVan, Robert Neese, Ron Oswald and Justin Elkin voting in favor, and directors Isenberg and Risinger opposing.

The motion to develop a staffing model and to advertise the position passed 6-3, with directors Isenberg, Marshall and Risinger in opposition.

District Superintendent Frank Garritano said he anticipates the three steps of the school security motions will be implemented before the board’s April meeting. No interviews with candidates are likely until after the board’s April meeting, he said.

On another school security motion, the directors authorized the administration to solicit bids for more security cameras.

The directors Monday also instructed the administration to research the feasibility of starting a foreign language course at the elementary level. Marshall made that request last month.

Garritano said possible scenarios might be to offer French and Spanish (the foreign languages offered to Marion Center high school students starting in their freshman year) before or after the school day, during the school day or as part of a community service program.

If taught during the school day, the foreign language instruction might be added to the rotation of one “special period” daily now dedicated to library instruction, art, physical education, computer instruction and music.

Also at Monday’s meeting, Garritano said the day of classes canceled Monday because of the spring snowstorm will be made up Thursday, which originally was scheduled to be part of the district’s Easter vacation.

In other action the directors:

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