The Port Byron Central School District is scrambling to figure out how to keep a school resource officer (SRO) in the district next school year.
The village board voted Monday not to renew the current officer’s contract. Officer Frank Ryan has been protecting the halls of the Port Byron Central School District for years as the school’s SRO.
“Liability. The liability of the police is on the village, which I think is unfair,” said Mayor Ronald Wilson, with the Village of Port Byron.
Right now, Officer Ryan is a part-time employee of the village, but he’s getting paid by the school district. The Cayuga County Civil Service Commission flagged this situation a couple of weeks ago. The village and the district have been in a stalemate ever since.
“We threw out one option to them a couple of meetings ago and apparently they didn’t like option because it takes the police action away from the village,” Mayor Wilson said.
Willian said the village board is suggesting the district hire a school security officer. But to those within the district, that’s not enough protection.
“The school security officer is fine but doesn’t really have any ability to do anything outside of the school building,” said Mike Jorgensen, the Principal for Dana-West Jr./Sr. High school.
For them, a resource or peace officer could deal with parents off campus or an intruder who gets onto school grounds.
“I think it’s time to start panicking a little bit because we’ve tried conversations in February, tried conversations in March … We want the best for our kids, we want to provide the best environment for our students,” Jorgensen said.
Officer Ryan’s contract with both the village and the district will be terminated by June 30th.