Valley School Board Tables Decision On SRO MOU

The Mentone Alumni Association donated $1,053 to Tippecanoe Valley School Corporation. Pictured (L to R) are David Lash, school board president, and Alice Keirn, alumni association president. Photo by Jackie Gorski, Times-Union

MENTONE – Tippecanoe Valley School Board tabled a decision on a memorandum of understanding with the Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Office for a school resource officer.
The Kosciusko County Commissioners approved the MOU on Aug. 15 and the Kosciusko County Council approved it Aug. 10 with Warsaw Community Schools and Tippecanoe Valley School Corporation for an additional two school resource officers (SROs). Warsaw wants an additional SRO to help put officers into the elementary schools of Leesburg, Madison and Claypool. The other SRO would rotate between Tippecanoe Valley Middle School and Mentone and Akron elementary schools.

During the commissioner’s meeting Aug. 15, Sheriff Jim Smith said they’ve analyzed the total costs associated with making the increases, and after looking at the wage, retirement, benefits, insurance and the cost of a patrol vehicle – along with outfitting the vehicle – they estimated 80% portion that each school corporation would be responsible for is $110,081.97 per year. The 20% portion the county would be responsible for would be $27,521.46 per year for each deputy.
Smith said the MOU they would like to enter, which county attorney Ed Ormsby has reviewed, would be effective Oct. 1.
Monday, Valley Superintendent Blaine Conley told the school board the Drug Abuse Resistance Education program will be reintroduced to Akron and Mentone elementaries upon recertification of the program by the SRO. Valley is hoping to have the DARE program up and running for the 2024-25 school year.
Board member Todd Hoffman said he didn’t know a lot about the MOU and asked if it could be tabled for further discussion. There was no objection to the MOU being tabled.

In other business, the board:

• Was introduced to Shayleigh Shriver, second-grade teacher at Mentone Elementary, and Hannah Clemans, fifth-grade teacher at Mentone, who were at the meeting for their formal hiring approval. Both teachers were approved.
• Approved a $1,053 donation from Mentone Alumni Association. Alice Keirn, president of the association, said the donation was for the school corporation’s Boomerang Backpack program and any special events Valley had that didn’t have funding.
• Approved the 2023-24 testing security policy.
• Approved the teacher appreciation grant policy.
• Heard special education teacher Cami Shriver has been named as a “Top 25” finalist for the Indiana Teacher of the Year.