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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Pinellas considers cutting school police positions



Seeking to save money, Pinellas is considering scaling back five school police officers' schedules by June 2014. Instead of working 12 months, these officers would work 10, aligning with the school year.

Pinellas is also looking to eliminate the school police department secretary and a half-time school police officer. Both positions are currently vacant.

Additionally, another position would take over the duties of the school police employee charged with creating access tags for new employees, eliminating that position as well.

William Corbett, the deputy superintendent of Pinellas County Schools, said these are cuts schools police Chief Richard Stelljes said he could live with.

"The chief felt like it was very reasonable to take five officers and transition" them to 10-month calendars, Corbett said. "Some of the people would rather have summers off."

School board member Terry Krassner said she was concerned that schools would not have enough security during Summer Bridge. "I know that was an issue last summer," she said.

Michael Bessette, the school system's operations director, told Krassner that Summer Bridge wouldn't be a problem; there would still be 18 officers working over the summer.

Between these and several other cuts, Pinellas is looking to save around $578,903. Nothing is set in stone, but "a moving target as we continue to do this," Corbett said.

The school system is also looking to create a new position: director of emergency management, safety, security and operations. Bessette said the school police officers should be focusing on law enforcement, while this new position might worry more about security equipment.

Review all the proposed changes here.

[Last modified: Wednesday, November 20, 2013 2:45pm]


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