Pilot Light: Bill Introduced for Schools' Campus Police
A bill that would allow the Moore County school system to maintain a campus police agency has been filed in the N.C. General Assembly.
The bill passed its first reading May 20 in the state House. It has been referred to the Judiciary I Committee. If it is recommended by that committee, it will then be passed onto the Education Committee.
If the House approves the bill, it will then go to the Senate.
School officials said in November that they wanted to convert from a "special police" designation to the "campus police" designation. Deputy Superintendent Larry Upchurch said at that time that the move would give school resource officers (SROs) "complete authorization of dealing with issues at our campuses and on the roads that lead into our campuses."
Under its current designation, SROs do not have jurisdiction over those roads. To have traffic control, they must work with the Moore County Sheriff's Office.
"It's the designation only that needs to be changed," schools spokesman Tim Lussier said. "Otherwise, it requires nothing else. Our officers, they essentially have everything they need right now to do all of this. There's nothing more that's needed.
"There's no investment. There's no additional cost involved. It's just a matter of the designation changing, and our police officers will have a little more capability to take care of our schools and our campuses and the areas surrounding those campuses. There's absolutely zero cost involved in having this change made."
Lussier added that every one of Moore County's law enforcement agencies has endorsed the proposal.
COUNTY BUDGET - The Moore County Board of Commissioners will take one more look at the proposed 2010-2011 budget during a special work session at 5 p.m. Thursday.
The schedule calls for adoption of the new budget at the regular June 7 meeting.
The budget hearing on May 17 attracted a capacity attendance, with almost 20 speakers urging the board to provide full funding for the budget request from the public schools. Although the budget recommended by the county manager increases the appropriation for the public schools for the new fiscal year, it does cut the schools' request by 3 percent.
Overall, the budget contains a reduction of almost 5 percent in the general fund. It retains the existing property tax rate but provides no raises for county employees.
UTILITIES - The commissioners and county staff fanned out into three communities earlier this month for a series of regional meetings focusing on water and sewer issues.
At the May 17 meeting, Board Chairman Tim Lea thanked Commissioner Larry Caddell for moderating the three meetings.
The meeting in Robbins covered water needs for Seven Lakes, Robbins/Moore County cooperative agreements and water projects already under construction as well as the potential for a North West Moore Water District.
"The conversation was open, frank and extremely beneficial," according to a news release from the county administrative office.
Representatives of municipalities in the southern part of the county attended the meeting held in Aberdeen, where the main topic was water. Expansion of the wastewater treatment plant at Addor was also discussed. The county is planning a $26 million expansion of the facility.
The status of sewer improvement projects was discussed at the meeting in Vass. Phase 3 of the East Moore Water District was also updated.
Plans for the three meetings arose from concerns expressed at a meeting of elected officials earlier this year. Commissioner Cindy Morgan made arrangements for the special meetings, each three hours in length, in the three communities.
COBLE - Congressman Howard Coble was back in the 6th District for the weekend.
He attended the Golden Circle induction at Guilford College Friday. He greeted veterans taking the Flight of Honor trip to D.C. at Piedmont Triad International Airport Saturday, then attended a ribbon cutting ceremony for the Children's Museum's Edible Schoolyard and a wedding at First Friends Meeting Room.
In addition to services at Alamance Presbyterian Church Sunday, he attended graduation ceremonies for Elon College's new law school.
MILITARY - U.S. Sen. Kay R. Hagan has introduced legislation to help end disparities in educational benefits for service members.
The GI Bill Equitable Education Benefit Act of 2010 restores education benefits to Reserve Component service members who are commissioned and/or retained for a career of four or more years in the active duty component of the armed forces. Otherwise, these service members would be ineligible to receive full benefits provided under the Post 9/11 GI Bill.
"Members of the Guard and Reserves are being called upon to shoulder an increasing role in defending our country from terrorism abroad," Hagan said in a news release. "These men and women deserve our support. Providing them with equitable educational benefits is the least we can do."
Contact Florence Gilkeson by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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