County to eye SRO for Goal Academy
by JOYANNA WEBER, Banner Staff Writer
Feb 06, 2013 | 731 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A recommendation from the Bradley County Commission education committee to explore how to put a school resource officer at Goal Academy will be given to the law enforcement committee.

The motion in support of the recommendation was made by education committee member Jeff Yarber during a meeting Tuesday.

Bradley County Board of Education member Troy Weathers said the principal at Goal Academy favors having an SRO there. Goal Academy is the alternative school for Bradley County Schools. Currently, SROs from other schools assist when possible, and officers on patrol make a point to go by the school.

During an update to the Commission in a December meeting, Bradley County Schools Director Johnny McDaniel said all of the schools have an SRO except Goal Academy.

“From the academic side and the philosophical side of what we do there ... we really try to intervene. Those are our most challenged students who are still in school,” McDaniel said. “If we had a full-time SRO there, I would love to see them involved in what we do there with the students.”

McDaniel said the officer could provide additional support.

Some students attend Goal for a time because of behaviorial issues. Others have fallen behind in high school credits and are working to graduate on time.

SROs are funded through the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office. Education Committee chairman J. Adam Lowe suggested the law enforcement committee also recommend the BCSO make the SRO salaries a separate part of the department’s budget.

Lt. W.G. Campbell said the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office has been committed to having an SRO for each school. McDaniel said he would like to see a second SRO at each of the high schools if possible.

“In my opinion, we are ahead of many communities with our SRO program,” McDaniel said.

The Law enforcement committee will meet Jan. 12.

Plans for the school system to pay sales tax revenue determined by the courts to belong to the city of Cleveland was also discussed.

Lowe asked how giving the money to the city would affect the school system’s budget.

“What goes away because that comes into the picture?” Lowe asked.

McDaniel said 82 percent of the school system budget is pay for personnel. He said this will make it difficult for the school system to match the local portion of teachers’ salaries with the proposed increase of the state portion. Building repairs may also be affected.

The school system will be paying about $400,000 per year for the three years.

Also during the meeting, Lowe said he would like the education committee to research using a bond issue to fund building a new academic building at Lake Forest Middle School.

“We are not doing the repair work at Lake Forest right now,” McDaniel said. “There is no need for us to pour money into buildings that we may not use in the future.”

The schools director said if a decision to construct the new building is not made soon he will have to spend money for maintenance.

Yarber asked if the cost estimates were still accurate for the project. McDaniel said he was unsure.

Committee member Jeff Morelock said the committee needs to make a recommendation to the finance committee if the project is to move forward. Members decided to discuss this at a meeting in two weeks. Weathers said the board will work on getting updated cost estimates on the project.

The need for upgraded technology as the school system moves to state-mandated electronic end-of-year testing was also discussed.