For the second year in a row, the Katonah-Lewisboro school district has been awarded an $80,000 state grant to pay for a school resource officer. State Sen. Greg Ball, whose 40th District includes Lewisboro and Katonah, announced the awarding of the “bullet aid” grant — state aid for education — on Tuesday, July 9.
The grant, which may be applied for on an annual basis, will be used to pay for a school resource officer (SRO) for the district, a position that was filled last year with the hiring of South Salem resident Andrew Llewellyn to the Lewisboro Police Department. The SRO position had been vacant since 2009, when Frank Secret left to become Lewisboro police chief.
Mr. Llewellyn was hired in July 2012 at a salary of $75,876 to be the SRO based at John Jay High School, and his hiring was made possible by a state grant secured with the help of Mr. Ball and Lewisboro Town Board member Peter DeLucia.
“In the wake of the horrific Sandy Hook event and other recent school shootings, I believe having a school resource officer is a vital tool to prevent these tragedies,” Mr. Ball said in a press release on Tuesday. “I recently hosted two school safety roundtables and it has become clear that having police officers present in schools serves as not only a deterrent for evil but has proven to be very positive for our children. I am happy to deliver again for the Katonah-Lewisboro school district and will continue to work with community partners to bring as much of our tax money back from Albany, home where it belongs.”
“It’s been a pleasure working with Greg Ball to secure this grant, and I look forward to continue working with the senator to make sure we get the grant again next year,” Mr. DeLucia said. “It’s imperative that we make sure we have well-trained officers to work in our schools.”
The grant is awarded to the school district, which then uses that money to pay back the town of Lewisboro, which employs Mr. Llewellyn as a full-time member of its police force.
The addition of Mr. Llewellyn, a John Jay graduate and former Lewisboro Highway Department employee, does cost the town a bit of money because he works as a full-time officer for the town’s Police Department when school is not in session, but the grant helps both the town and the district because they had budgeted to share the cost of the SRO in the event that the grant was not awarded again.
“During this time of fiscal constraint we are very pleased to receive this financial support,” said Michael Jumper, assistant superintendent for business for the Katonah-Lewisboro school district. “Through the cooperative efforts of Sen. Ball, the town of Lewisboro and the school district, these funds will continue to be used to pay for our school resource officer.”