The Glencoe League of Women Voters recommends casting a No vote on the April 7 referendum on having a privately-funded Glencoe Public Safety Officer stationed in Central school for the 2015-2016 school year.
At a consensus meeting March 23, League members agreed that it is not good public policy to privately fund school district or village staff. It undermines the authority of the Glencoe School District #35 Board and the Village of Glencoe Board. It also sets a bad precedent because it would allow government by lobbyists or the wealthy.
The Glencoe School District #35 currently has a Glencoe Public Safety Officer assigned to each school. This officer provides security training, delivers educational programs on safety to students and conducts safety drills. The Glencoe schools have medical personnel on staff: nurses, social workers, and school psychologists who address the needs of students and faculty.
The Glencoe Board of Education established a District Safety and Security Committee that consisted of 25 members representing a broad based group from the community. This committee conducted thorough research including engaging three firms to conduct studies of the school’s safety practices. Based on this research, the School district implemented security measures, emergency safety procedures and facility upgrades.
In conclusion, the League feels that there is no need to have a dedicated armed officer stationed in any of the District 35 schools. In fact, the League members feel that an armed police officer would be detrimental to a feeling of safety at the school.
Accordingly, the Glencoe League of Women Voters recommends casting a No vote on this referendum.
The questions of the LWV of Glencoe Consensus Study for School District 35, Public Safety Officer Referendum:
1)Is it good public policy to privately fund staff in the Village?
a) undermines the head of the Department of Public Safety and the Superintendent of District 35 Schools
b) sets a bad precedent
c) becomes government by lobbyist and the wealthy
d) undermines the democratic process
e) the Glencoe Schools and the Public Safety Department accept donations but they are in charge of disbursing them to programs they deem appropriate. The donations have been for equipment and not for personnel
2) Should there be a stationed armed officer dedicated to any District 35 School?
a) creates a precedent to pay armed guards for other public areas
b) studies show that students feel less safe with an armed guard stationed in the school
c) the School Board studied the question and their consensus was also NO
d) all other safety procedures established at Central School make it unnecessary
3) Is a privately-funded pilot program a good idea if the public is expected to fund the position going forward?
a) a Public Safety Officer stationed at three schools would cost approximately $450,000/year
b) pilot programs are generally not privately funded
c) public has had an opportunity to participate in a public discussion regarding this proposal during the School Board school safety study. That study concluded that having an armed public safety officer was unnecessary.
4) Is there a need for a dedicated Glencoe Public Safety Officer stationed in Central School?
a) we already have sufficient safety programs
b) the Department of Public Safety already offers safety programs
c) the need for an EMT has been met
d) students already have many mentors at the school
e) the School District already devotes funds to social programs
5) Should the LWV of Glencoe support the School District 35, Public Safety Officer referendum question?Consensus: NO