GHEC moves toward hiring resource officer

GRANADA — The Granada-Huntley-East Chain School Board on Thursday received some information from Martin County Chief Deputy Corey Klanderud regarding a possible school resource officer at GHEC.

The school has been considering the idea of hiring an SRO for a while, and the matter went before the Martin County commissioners last May. Since Granada does not have a local police department, it would need to get an officer from the Sheriff’s Office.

The county has offered to split the cost 66/34, with GHEC paying for the majority. The cost of a full-time deputy would be about $108,000, including salary, insurance, training, uniforms and other expenses. For GHEC, 66 percent of the cost would come to roughly $70,000.

Klanderud, who has previously worked as an SRO, explained to the board the role of a school resource officer.

“Their job isn’t necessarily just being an officer, it’s divided into three parts,” he said. “Law enforcement, informal counselor and also as an educator, and those roles can be as broad or as specific as needed.”

He explained that the key goal is building relationships, not only with students but with staff, teachers and parents.

Klanderud touched on the fact that some people might not believe GHEC needs an SRO because it is a smaller district, but he reminded the board that the same problems occur in small towns and large cities. The SRO is there to protect and benefit the students and staff, he said.

Superintendent Mandy Fletcher asked the board if an SRO is something it wants her to pursue. Most board members said getting a school resource officer is high on their priority list, while several said they do not believe it is necessary at this time.

Ultimately, Fletcher said she would tell Klanderud that GHEC is interested in getting an SRO for the next school year.

Moving along to other matters, Fletcher provided the board with an update on where GHEC is sitting for snow make-up days. Fletcher said the district is below the state-required minimum for days and hours of student contact, because of snow or inclement weather days.

As of now, several school days have been added to the calendar, including Monday, April 22, which is the day after Easter. As of Feb. 27, all Wednesdays have been extended to full school days, as they were previously half days. The plan also is to extend the current school year slightly and make June 3-4 student contact days. However, Fletcher explained there is talk in the Legislature about forgiving inclement weather days.

“At this point, we’re just going to go ahead with this until we hear anything from legislation because we can’t afford to wait,” Fletcher said. “But if they cut off three days from the polar vortex, it would be my recommendation to go back to ending on May 31.”

“We’ve also added 10 minutes of instruction to each day because we were still under the hours required,” she noted.

School now begins at 8:15 a.m., as opposed to 8:20, and lets out at 3:09 p.m., as opposed to 3:04 p.m.

The board also looked at the 2019-2020 school year calendar and considered moving graduation from a Sunday afternoon, which is when it took place the past few years, to Friday evening, which is when it formerly took place. After some discussion, the board approved the calendar, with graduation set for Friday, May 29, 2020.

In other news, Fletcher said she would begin advertising for several new positions to better meet the needs of the students for the next school year. These include a business education instructor, full-time Title I teacher and a middle school physics/science teacher.