Despite objections from the current superintendent and a former superintendent, the Grand Island School Board on Monday voted 5-1 to support a plan to use two part-time school resource officers rather than create a new full-time special police officer.
Board member Donna Tomkins voted no and Board President Lisa Pyc abstained from the vote and the discussion. Pyc's husband, Trooper Chris Pyc was the district's former school resource officer and was a potential candidate for the new position.
Both the Grand Island Town Board, which will employ the officer, and the Grand Island Police Department, favored the plan to hire two part-time officers. The school district has received a $45,000 state grant to pay for the officers. The district has been without an officer since 2013.
Superintendent Brian Graham and former superintendent Robert Christmann, a speaker at the board meeting Monday, said a full-time officer would give the district more continuity.
Before the vote, the school board questioned Grand Island Police Officer-in-Charge Chris Soluri about how a two-officer system would work.
"An SRO is the eyes and ears to prevent school problems," said Christmann, who had been with the district for 22 years.
The officers would work exclusively for the school but also be Grand Island police officers, which employs all part-time officers. Soluri told the board that a special police officer would not be part of the police force this type of position is usually used in towns that don't have their own police department, as was done recently in the Town of Clarence.