Letter: Mayor backs officer jobMy support for the police school liaison officer position is unwavering. When the school district was paying 41 percent, far less than most other school districts, I suggested it would be fair for the school to pay two-thirds.
By: Dean Knudson, Mayor, Hudson, Hudson Star-Observer
My support for the police school liaison officer position is unwavering. When the school district was paying 41 percent, far less than most other school districts, I suggested it would be fair for the school to pay two-thirds.
I supported the creation of a second position this year if the district would pay two-thirds the cost of both. The district offered 46 percent but only if we added that second officer; otherwise they wanted to stay with 41 percent. So the second officer position wasn’t created and the negotiations on payment for the first officer have continued, even after the current contract expired.
The City Council and School Board subsequently learned that Rice Lake and Superior pay 75 percent while several nearby districts pay 50 percent. Now the City Council has asked for 75 percent. In January the Council discussed the matter in an open public meeting and sent a written one-year contract offer for 75 percent. The offer was rejected in a closed session of the school finance committee.
In February I recommended to the council a compromise at 60 percent. The council instead offered a two-year contract with the first year at 60 percent and subsequent years at 75 percent. Last week the School Board again rejected the offer without making any counter offer. Video and documents on this issue are available at www.deanknudson.com.
The ball is now in the School Board’s court. It would be foolish to scuttle such an effective partnership. At the March 10 board meeting I reaffirmed the city’s commitment to student safety and the liaison officer position. The district administration stated that a private security guard would be a more cost-effective alternative. This would be a mistake.
In a terrible coincidence, another school shooting occurred not eight hours after that School Board meeting. Now it is time to compromise for the good of our children and community. The officer will remain in the school through the end of the school year with or without a new contract. I hope both School Board members and alderpersons can come together in compromise during that time.