The Mars Area School Board has approved a one-year agreement with Adams Township to create a school police force.
School board President Dayle Ferguson said the goal is to have an armed officer in every school for the start of the 2019-20 school year.
“We have come to the conclusion that this is a necessary and important investment,” he said in a statement. “The goal here is safety. The goal here is protection.”
The “hybrid” school police force would be made up of two Adams Township officers who would be township employees but permanently assigned during the school year to the district’s schools, and three full-time school police officers hired by the district.
The district said it will seek approval from Butler County Court to create a school police force.
The district will pay $75,000 per township police officer, or $150,000 for two. The township will provide additional officers for traffic services during peak hours at no additional cost to the district.
The district is now paying $107,965 for one officer assigned to patrol the district and its schools each day, plus nearly $40,000 for traffic control.
Money to pay the start-up costs associated with the agreement is included in the district’s 2019-20 budget, Ferguson said.
Adams supervisors are expected to vote on the agreement in May.