Fort Cherry approves hiring security officer

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Fort Cherry School Board voted Monday to approve the hiring of a new full-time security officer at the school district campus in McDonald and to authorize an architect to begin researching options for improved building access points for the elementary and junior/senior high school buildings.


By unanimous vote, board members approved the motion, allowing administrators to begin interviewing candidates for the position in the upcoming weeks. The full-time officer will be paid a salary of roughly $37,000.


Although the school district has had a part-time officer for the past few academic years, one member of the audience voiced concerns about having an armed guard at the school during the public comments portion of the meeting.


“Don’t just act on the incident that scares you the most today, but on all scenarios,” said Cindy Gaskill, an ex-school board member. Gaskill was referencing the December fatal shooting of elementary students and school employees in Newtown, Conn.


“I believe it’s important to receive training and credentials in order to keep the security job,” said Gaskill.


The board will receive recommendations from an architect with numerous options to make entry into the school more secure. Members will vote on a plan of action at an upcoming meeting.


The board also voted to remove a controversial log tracking right-to-know requests received by the district from the website. In September, the board had voted to reinstate the log after it was removed in January 2012 for investigation.


Board president James White said the log should be removed because the private phone number of a teacher had been released and because it was a drain on the district’s time and financial resources. But many board members argued for its usefulness.


“It was never put up there to decrease the number of requests,” said board member Brant Miller. “It’s job is to release information … I just feel if we’re trying to be transparent, it would be better to keep it up.”


The motion to remove the log passed by a vote of 6-3. In favor were Christopher Lauff, Melinda Errett, Tina Cottrill, Leann Darnley and White. Opposed were Elmo Cecchetti, Larry Heirendt and Miller.


The board also passed a motion stating that no credit cards could be issued, obtained and/or authorized by the school district. It passed by an 8-1 vote, with Darnley casting the lone no vote.


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