With school set to start Monday, district officials in Chester County have yet to finalize bringing police officers back to the county’s three high schools despite months of negotiations to make it happen.
Chester County and the school district each agreed to pay for half of the cost for the three officers, said Shane Stuart, Chester County supervisor. Talks have been ongoing since May.
However, to bring officers back the school district and Chester County have to enter into a memorandum of understanding about the role of officers on campuses, Stuart said. That memorandum has not yet been signed by school officials. A special called meeting of the school board is possible this week.
The district dropped Chester County Sheriff’s deputies in 2015, instead opting for private security officers on each county campus in a decision that rankled law enforcement and upset many parents. The district then hired a security director to oversee security at all campuses.
That decision to remove all police from schools was revisited earlier this year after the departure of former district Superintendent Agnes Slayman, who resigned last year after allegations that she threatened employees. Slayman had pushed for private security on campuses, and the school board voted in 2015 to no longer have deputies at schools.
But Superintendent Angela Bain, hired earlier this year, restarted talks to bring back a number of deputies that would give the system a mix of uniformed officers and private guards. The school district decided to again seek having a resource officer based at Chester, Lewisville and Great Falls high schools.
During the last school year, the school district had to sign an agreement with the sheriff’s office for deputies to work large events such as high school football games and graduations.