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City renews request for county funding of SROs

The Hendersonville City Council is asking the county to fund four school resource officers the four county schools in the city limits, renewing (and revising) a request the Board of Commissioners rejected a year ago.

The city is asking the county for $201,445 to cover the four officers, which under the council’s proposal would remain city police officers. Last year, in the wake of the Valentine’s Day shooting deaths of 17 people at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, the Board of Commissioners agreed to fund SROs in all county schools but did not cover the four schools in the city — Bruce Drysdale and Hendersonville elementary schools and Hendersonville middle and high schools.
“Last year we made a pretty much last minute request for them to fund all four of our SROs,” said Councilman Jeff Miller, who proposed the request last year and again this year. “We didn’t do as good a job as we should in going back and breaking this down into real numbers. In our haste to do it we really didn’t get to think it all out.”
The city calculated the amount of time SROs spend in school duty at 87 percent and pro-rated its request to cover that amount. The city also said it would cover the cost of the police cruiser, split the cost of training and cover the salary of a fifth SRO that serves as a rover among all four schools.
Councilman Steve Caraker said he pays as much in county taxes as city taxes.
“The only thing I get for my tax money is a library card and I don’t have time to go the library,” he said.
County Commissioner Bill Lapsley brought up the idea of paying for the SROs in the schools in the city limits during last week’s budget workshop. Lapsley said he supported the funding of those officers.
“We want to resubmit the request and we wanted it based on hard facts of what we’re doing,” Miller said. “I think we’re being conservative and very fair in this.”