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March 24, 2013

Vigo school board to approve security personnel

TERRE HAUTE — A new security initiative to have an armed police officer in every school, both city and county, is moving forward.

On Monday, the Vigo County School Board, as part of its personnel report, will approve individuals who provide school security as part of the new initiative. They include active duty city police and sheriff’s deputies, as well as retired law enforcement officers.

West Terre Haute police will participate at West Vigo Elementary.

One school started last week, more schools will have officers this week and the roll out will continue the week of April 8. The school district is on spring break the week of April 1.

As the new security program is implemented, patrols will continue at all schools, said Ray Azar, VCSC director of student services.

Those security officers who are not active duty law enforcement officers will have police powers through the Vigo County Sheriff as a “special deputy” or on “reserve” status.

Officers will work a variety of hours and may work in one or multiple buildings.

Earlier this month, the Vigo County Council voted 7-0 vote and approved $135,000 to pay for safety/security officers to be assigned to 10 county schools. That is half the cost, with the school district providing the other half.

Last month, the city agreed to fund officers in 12 city schools that do not already have a police officer assigned. The $353,000 cost of those officers is being split between the city and school district.

In other matters, the School Board will be asked to approve purchase of property adjacent to Sugar Grove Elementary for $15,000. The owners have expressed an interest in selling the property, located at 1910 S. 27th St.

Superintendent Dan Tanoos said a large garage is located on the property, and the building sits just a few feet from the school. “We need the area for parking,” he said.

The school district also is seeking board approval to conduct an independent audit of the district’s health care benefits; in particular, the audit will determine whether or not dependents covered by the VCSC health plans are eligible to receive benefits.

A committee selected BMI Audit Services to complete the requirement and the process will begin this spring. Payment will be made out of the Insurance Reserve Fund, and the cost will be $11,600.

An independent audit is required every five years for the school district’s health care benefits plan, according to information provided to the School Board.

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