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Published January 09, 2012, 10:02 PM

Moorhead Police propose sharing more of the cost of School Resource Officer program

Moorhead, MN (WDAY TV) -- After a 12 year relationship between Moorhead Public Schools and the Moorhead Police Department, changes to the School Resource Officer program could be on the Horizon. Everyone is facing budget cuts.

Moorhead, MN (WDAY TV) -- After a 12 year relationship between Moorhead Public Schools and the Moorhead Police Department, changes to the School Resource Officer program could be on the Horizon. Everyone is facing budget cuts.

The Moorhead Police Department has been assigning officers to schools since 1999 and footing almost the entire bill.

Now, Moorhead Police Chief David Ebinger says it's time for the schools to start paying for more than just a small chunk of it.

Chief David Ebinger: “At this point we've always been fairly responsible in getting these things paid for through the city, but we do need some help.”

The Moorhead Police Department currently provides two school resource officers, a DARE officer and a Youth Services Coordinator - costing a total of just more than 260-thousand dollars in salary and benefits.

Moorhead schools contributes 33-thousand dollars a year to the DARE program and 58-hundred dollars a year to the student resource officer program.

Dr. Lynn Kovash: “Well we've done some checking, and other school districts do contribute funding for their school resource officers, but as times are getting tighter they are having to look for more partnerships.”

The department is now asking the district to pay for 9-months of one of the school resource officer's salary and benefits - about 51-thousand dollars, or, more than 45-thousand dollars then the school district was before.

Chief Ebinger: “This should not be viewed as a potential parting of the ways, this is just readjusting the fiscal end of it, we are committed to staying in the schools.”

At tonight's School Board meeting, Chief Ebinger presented the department's proposal, receiving only one comment from School Board Member Michael Siggerud

Michael Siggerud: “From my standpoint, the services they are offer are incredible. Kids love them, and they respect them and I can't imagine the school going without them.”

This was only the first discussion on the topic.

The Police Department says it will still pick the School Resource Officer's salary and benefits during the summer months.

The School Board must now decide whether to put the School Resource Officer salary on next year's budget.

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