State Senator Patty Ritchie announced Monday she has secured a special, $50,000 grant to provide a school resource officer for the Central Square School District.
School Resource Officers, commonly known as SROs, are law enforcement officials, stationed at schools and tasked with improving safety and security.
In 2010, due to budget cuts, the New York State Police ended its School Resource Officer program, leaving many districts, like Central Square, to find a way to implement the service provided by the SROs on their own.
“Today, it’s especially important that schools have the resources they need to make sure students are safe and that learning is the main focus,” said Senator Ritchie. “I would like to thank Mayor Murphy for his concern and for bringing this need to my attention. Thanks to his advocacy, the Central Square School District will now have an extra line of defense when it comes to creating a safe and secure environment for learning.”
Central Square’s need for a SRO was initially brought to Senator Ritchie’s attention by Millard “Mudd” Murphy, Mayor of Central Square.
“When you start out with a goal, and finally see the end result, it’s very gratifying,” said Mayor Murphy. “I brought the information to Senator Ritchie early on when I knew it was going to be a problem for the Central Square School District. She pushed forward until she was able to achieve results. I am absolutely thrilled that thanks to Senator Ritchie, we will now have this resource for our school district.”
Joseph Menard, superintendent of the Central Square Central School District also praised Senator Ritchie.
“I would like to thank Senator Ritchie for her hard work and support in acquiring funding that the Central Square Central School District will use towards securing a School Resource Officer for our District,” said Menard. “As everyone is aware, our number one priority is the safety of our students and our total school community. Again, we personally thank Senator Ritchie; she is a true advocate for education.”
The announcement of funding is just the latest way Senator Ritchie has been standing up for area schools.
This year, Oswego, Jefferson and St. Lawrence county schools received an increase of more than $25 million in funding, which is $7 million more than originally proposed by the Governor.
In addition, changes to the state aid formula sought by Senator Ritchie are driving more aid to rural and poorer Upstate districts.