BEXLEY, Ohio (WCMH) — Bexley City Council is considering a proposal to continue covering a portion of the cost for a school resource officer at St. Charles Prep.
The idea of using public funds to pay for security at a private high school has stirred up a debate among some residents.
St. Charles is the first school in the Diocese of Columbus to request a full-time resource officer.
Under an arrangement originally presented to the council, the school would pay 75 percent of the cost with the city covering the rest. However, that could soon change.
Bexley Mayor Ben Kessler said that a few months ago, St. Charles approached the city about having a full-time school resource officer.
“I think it’s entirely appropriate that we be a partner as Bexley police department with any educational institution,” he said. “The question is in the details… what does that partnership look like.”
Typically, public schools split the cost of a resource officer 50 – 50 with the local police department. But given that St Charles is a private school, the city suggested the school pay 75 percent of the cost.
“So we just talked internally about what sort of value does it bring to our agency to have a school resource officer and there are benefits to the Bexley police department,” Kessler said.
Joel Greff is among many here who question using any public money to pay for a private school’s resource officer.
“We have a lot of agencies in and around town that are private agencies that are probably more in need of resource officers and they’re figuring out a way to privately fund their security, so it just doesn’t seem to make sense why, in this particular instance, it would make sense to do it for St. Charles,” he said.
Between the pushback from residents and a lukewarm reception on city council, Kessler said he’s now proposing St. Charles pay the entire cost.
“That’s part of us being the first in central Ohio to look at this is we’re kind of feeling out, what is a reasonable arrangement, we’re talking about it,” Kessler said. “And it’s a really great discussion and we’re hearing about it from both sides of the issue and I think it’s all very positive that we’re processing through it together.”
Kessler said he believes there is not sufficient support among council members for a 75/25 split. He plans to propose that St. Charles pay 100 percent of the cost when the council meets Tuesday.
“St Charles is a large taxpayer in Bexley,” Kessler said. “They’re not a non-tax paying entity and so we care about them and we want them to thrive and succeed just as we care about any other organization or user in the city.”
St. Charles has yet to comment on the matter.