WESTFIELD, NJ — A tentative budget for the 2018-2019 school year adopted by the Westfield Board of Education Monday includes $100,000 to hire two new school resource officers, in addition to the $50,000 previously included for the school resource officer already working out of Westfield high school.
School resource officers are armed Westfield police officers whose responsibilities have included providing assistance in programs for peer mediation and peer leadership, assisting school personnel in dealing with emergencies and assisting in truancy investigations. The new SROs would float between the middle and elementary schools, School Business Administrator/Board Secretary Dana Sullivan said.
The town of Westfield also has money allocated in its preliminary municipal budget for additional overtime for police to continue maintaining a stronger presence at Westfield public schools.
Parents may have noticed the increased police presence recently, Superintendent Dr. Margaret Dolan said that night.
“The board leadership and I continue to work cooperatively with the town and the police department, and I’d like to thank them for providing those increased presence,” Dolan said.
The school board’s tentative budget would increase the tax levy by two percent, which would result in a $166 per year increase in school taxes to the average Westfield homewonwer.
Sullivan said that she received the numbers for state aid last week, and Westfield will get a $355,214 increase in state aid.
Meanwhile, the cost per pupil is actually less than in recent years, Sullivan noted. She said that Westfield also spends less per student than comparable schools.
“You can see we’re at $13,284 [per student],” Sullivan said. “The state average is $14,940.”
A public hearing will be held April 24 before the board votes to adopt the final budget.