News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

February 12, 2013

School board OKs funding for increased security

TERRE HAUTE — The Vigo County School Board has unanimously approved a plan — and funding — to provide greater security to schools in the wake of the December tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn.

The board action on Monday night is a major step toward the goal of having an armed law enforcement officer in each school, both city and county.

The School Board approved annual expenditures of about $311,000 for the district’s share of the costs — $135,000 to fund special deputies in rural, county schools, and $176,000 to ensure each city school has a full-time police officer.

In each case, the school district is paying half of the cost.

The Terre Haute City Police Department, which already has its funding in place, can now move forward with its plan, while a separate plan proposed by Sheriff Greg Ewing still needs County Council approval.

“You can’t put a pricetag on the safety and security of children and staff,” said Superintendent Dan Tanoos.

“This is the right thing to do,” said School Board President Paul Lockhart.

The district has a healthy, 16-percent general fund cash balance, Tanoos has said. Another source of funding involves agreements with private companies that are providing revenue to the


Both Ewing and Terre Haute Police Chief John Plasse addressed the School Board.

This year, the city police department share of the costs will come from a seized asset fund, which will not require City Council approval. In future years, funding for the school officers will have to be incorporated into the city police department budget.

Plasse said he will use active, off-duty police officers, and he anticipates two four-hour shifts per school.

Officers will be at the school all day, starting at about 7:20 a.m. They will not leave until the end of the day or beyond.

When dealing with an active shooter, “seconds count,” Plasse told the School Board. “I feel an officer at that school, to deter a attack or confront it head on, is the best plan to keep our students safe,” he said.

Plasse hopes to have officers in the city schools no later than April 1.

Squad cars, uniforms and guns will be provided by the city and county, respectively, Tanoos said. He anticipated the school district’s liability insurance will go up slightly. Officers will be paid on an hourly basis.

In the county, Ewing’s plan would put special deputies in 10 rural, county schools. He anticipates using several retired law enforcement officers, who have previously received training at the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy.

“We have to be proactive,” Ewing said. “We have to slow down that active shooter and speed up the police.” The best way to do that is to put police in the schools, he said.

“Let that person who wants to do harm to our children battle it out with that police officer, not our 6-year-olds,” Ewing said.

Board member Tammy Pearson asked what would happen if one of the safety officers calls in sick. Ewing said “there will always be coverage.” He has reserve deputies he can use, and if necessary — he’ll go to a school himself, he said.

Now that the school district has approved its share of the funding for the 10 special deputies, the next step is for the Vigo County Council to act on providing its share — $135,000 — during a meeting March 12.

During a public comment period Monday, several principals and some parents praised the district and law enforcement for their efforts to keep schools safe.

Sue Loughlin can be reached at 812-231-4235 or


Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local & Bistate
Latest News Poll
AP Video
Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo Two Women Narrowly Avoid Being Hit by Train Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Raw: Deadly Landslide Hits Indian Village Raw: Plane Lands on New York Highway Raw: 16 Killed in Gaza Market Strike Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN Crayola Announces Family Attraction in Orlando Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit Harding Love Letters Now Open to Public Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record LeBron James Sends Apology Treat to Neighbors Raw: Amphibious Landing Practice in Hawaii Raw: Guinea Rap Concert Stampede Kills 33+ Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions Cat Fans Lap Up Feline Film Festival
NDN Video
Heartwarming 'Batkid Begins' Documentary is Tear-Jerker Orlando Bloom 'Takes a Swing' at Justin Bieber In Ibiza Pitch Invading Morons Cause Chaos - @TheBuzzeronFOX Sadie Doesn't Want Her Brother to Grow Up "Maxim" Hotness! See Jessica Alba's Sizzling Spread Two women barely avoid being hit by train Broken Water Main Floods UCLA Orlando Bloom and Justin Bieber Reportedly Came To Blows In Ibiza Meet the Man Behind Dumb Starbucks Chris Pratt Adorably Surprises Kids at a 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Screening NOW TRENDING: Peyton Manning dancing at practice "The Bachelorette" Makes Her Decision Thieves pick the wrong gas station to rob Golden Sisters on '50 Shades' trailer: 'Look At That Chest!' Staten Island Man's Emotional Dunk Over NYPD Car - @TheBuzzeronFOX GMA: Dog passes out from excitment to see owner Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted 'Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1' Sneak Peek Florida Keys Webcam Captures Turtles Hatching Morgan Freeman Sucks Down Helium on 'Tonight Show'

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -


    March 12, 2010