High School SRO has hours reduced

Published 10:02 am Thursday, December 6, 2012

JACKSON – The Northampton County Board of Education has invoked a reduction in force concerning school resource officers (SROs).

On Monday, the Board voted 6 to 1 in favor of the measure, which would reduce months of employment for 12 month SROs to 10 months.

It was noted that Schools Superintendent Dr. Eric Bracy was not recommending any SRO would lose his or her position, rather the reduction in force would result in any 12 month SRO having their pay reduced by two months of employment.

SROs employed on a 10 month basis are not impacted by the reduction in force.

During discussion, Board member Marjorie Edwards questioned how many school resource officers would be affected by the RIF.

Bracy said the RIF would impact one person at Northampton County High School. The employee has already been notified.

“Can that person go back and work for the Sheriff’s Department so they do not lose any income,” Edwards asked.

“When they’re not employed by the school system for those two months sure, if the sheriff wants them,” Bracy said.

Edwards questioned if the SROs work for the sheriff.

Bracy said SROs are employed by the school system.

Board member Phil Matthews moved to approve the recommendation from administration. Edwards offered a second.

During discussion, Board Vice Chair Erica Smith-Ingram said the board went through this several years ago where they looked at 12 month employees and reduced those where possible.

“It just startles me that we’re in this position again,” she said. “It just doesn’t look good and I just hope that more diligence and attention can be given to this so we’re not in this position to start with.”

Ingram said she wasn’t pointing fingers at who’s to blame, but “if we don’t get a better hold of this I think it could send some trouble down the road.”

Rhonda Taylor noted during the summer time there were not any students to protect.

“But there never have been any students during the summer time, so how did we get in this position,” Ingram inquired.

After further discussion, Bracy noted that some times during the summer the Sheriff’s Department will hire SROs who are not working for the school system at the time.

“I just want to be sure people were not losing jobs or at least had some place to go, they still have bills to pay,” said Edwards.

Ingram said there were assistant principals and teachers that could use summer months to get some duties done that a lot of times they might not be compensated for.

“It just baffles me how we can pay some employees 12 months that are not supervising kids when you have people actually having to get some work done and we can’t cover those months,” she said. “In the spirit of fairness we need to make sure we’re treating all of our employees, no matter the classification, as they should be treated—with respect and honoring their jobs and what they have to get done.”

The board voted 6 to 1 to approve the measure. Edwards voiced the dissenting vote. Ingram said she was abstaining from the vote. However, according to Robert’s Rules of Order, which the board uses, her vote counts as for the measure.