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School board funding school resource officers positions

VIDALIA — The Concordia Parish School Board voted Thursday to amend agreements with Vidalia and Ferriday to provide funding to both towns for school resource officers, a commitment the board made last fall when it approved the budget.

Superintendent Paul Nelson explained to the board that up to $50,000 for Vidalia and up to $20,000 for Fer-

riday for two officers from each department was already allocated in the budget at the district. He said, however, that no language was added into the agreements with the towns to account for the school board’s contributions to the officers’ salaries.

Nelson said after the meeting that the school board would essentially be retroactively paying the towns for the officers.

In the past, Vidalia has provided two school resource officers for Vidalia schools at no cost to the school board. Nelson said in light of Vidalia’s recent financial woes, the town asked the school board to contribute to the officers’ salaries this year.

Those conversations were had with former City Manager Ken Walker, Nelson said. When Walker resigned in September, those conversations were put on hold until last month, Nelson said, which is why the school board is just now paying their contributions.

Prior to this school year, the Ferriday Police Department did not have officers at Ferriday schools, Nelson said. The Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Office school resource officer, whose salary the school board pays, has a presence in Ferriday schools.

Ferriday is only receiving a $20,000 contribution to the officers’ salary, Nelson said, because the officers are not trained SRO officers. Nelson said he hopes to get the officers trained over the summer in preparation for next school year.

In the future, Nelson said, the salary contributions will likely be made in monthly payments.

“We’re just playing catch-up from August now,” he said.

In other news from the meeting:

•The school board recognized the students serving on the Superintendent’s Advisory Council.

Board members Charles Minor and Raymond T. Riley Sr. were not present at the meeting.