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Police coming to JT schools

Published January 28. 2020 12:43PM

Jim Thorpe Area School District plans to have armed police officers in all three school buildings starting in mid-February.

The school board voted unanimously Monday night to approve agreements with Jim Thorpe Police Department and Kidder Township Police Department to provide school resource officers.

“This will essentially cover school time hours. We will have a police presence every day once this gets started,” Superintendent John Rushefski said.

Jim Thorpe Police Department will provide two officers, one for Jim Thorpe Area High School and the other for L.B. Morris. Kidder Township will provide an officer for the Penn-Kidder Campus.

The district will pay $22 per hour for each Jim Thorpe Police Department officer and $21.40 per hour for the Kidder officer.

While the officers will be mainly posted inside the school, they are officially employees of their respective police departments.

Rushefski said the district has budgeted about $90,000 for police coverage at the schools this year. They have budgeted another $20,000 for officers at after-school events.

The district has a separate contract for after-school activities, which costs about $82 per hour.

Rushefski said the reason for the difference in cost is that the school resource officers won’t be full-time officers with benefits.

Rushefski said that parents can expect an officer to be inside the school throughout the day.

“We’re looking for coverage throughout the school day. If there was some big event in town or crisis calls, they’re gonna go,” he said.

Mileage request

The board voted to attempt to recover mileage payments made to former board member Michael Principe.

At a meeting earlier this month, they approved Principe’s request to be paid mileage for events he attended as a board member over the last three years. The board later determined that Principe was paid mileage for traveling from his home to regular board meetings.

District policy states that board members can get mileage for traveling to special events, but says nothing about regular board meetings.

Board members Glenn Confer, Gerald Strubinger and Dennis McGinley voted against attempting to recover the money.

The board voted to pay mileage and tolls for interim business manager Joseph Surridge to travel to and from the district.

Lawsuit

The board voted to hire Levin Legal Group to represent the district and five board members in a lawsuit brought by board member Paul Montemuro.

Montemuro wants the court to overturn the board’s decision to remove him as board president in December.

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