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September 21, 2020

7/24/2020 10:45:00 AM
CL Schools to retain Resource Officers

A revised agreement has been worked out to keep the School Resource Officers in Chisago Lakes schools at a new, reduced cost to the school.   Talks have also settled on refunding a month of the 10-months’ fees the district had paid to Lakes Area Police for 2019-2020 year. When COVID-19 cut the school year short in March, the SRO duties were non-existent.  

Chisago Lakes had requested two months as a refund, but the negotiations have landed on a single month refund.

The Chisago Lakes superintendent and Lakes Area Police officials were advised at the May Police Commission meeting to proceed on discussing a possible rebate for the portion of the officers’ wages when no school was being held.  
Contract language was also re-opened.  

The district has been covering 10-12ths of the budget for SRO officers for years; but budgets have been affected by extra expenses due to COVID-19 and reduced school district revenues also due to the virus.

Supt. Dean Jennissen stressed that the schools are completely satisfied with the support and accessibility provided by the Lakes Area Police SROs.  

The impetus is all financial, he said, as he asked the police commission in May to agree to look at the situation for this shortened year and to also adjust the level of school support in future years.

Lakes Area Chief of Police Bill Schlumbohm explains that the 10-12ths was actually an arbitrary number everybody agreed to in order to simplify bookkeeping and eliminate paperwork, avoiding time cards, maintaining records and all.  

The school is really only in session nine-12ths of the year, but “...in developing our first contract we knew keeping track of every hour the officers are serving schools would be cumbersome,” the chief said.  

SROs assigned to schools also spend time before and after school following up on incidents, making contacts with family, and they attend sports events and do special programs, etc.  It was estimated in the beginning the easiest way to share the costs was to just have the cities pay two-12ths of the officer budget and the district took 10-12ths.  

The cities of Lindstrom and Chisago City will need to approve the concepts,  and the Lakes Area Police Commission, which doesn’t meet again until September,  needs to authorize the refund of one month’s share of the agreement and language revision to nine-12ths. 

Lindstrom okayed the refund last week at its council session.

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