RUMFORD — Regional School Unit 10 directors plan to vote Monday on whether to approve a $125,000 federal grant to help pay for a full-time school resource officer.

The Community Oriented Policing Services money would cover the position for at least three years to serve Mountain Valley High School and Rumford Elementary School, both in Rumford, and Mountain Valley Middle School and Meroby Elementary School, both in in Mexico.

The district has budgeted $25,000 this year toward the cost of a school resource officer for its schools for slightly more than 20 hours a week, Superintendent Deb Alden told directors at a workshop Monday.

The COPS grant agreement includes yearly financial shares from Rumford taxpayers, the school district and the Rumford Police Department totaling $210,136 for three years. Rumford taxpayers, the school district and the Police Department would be responsible for the fourth year.

Rumford selectmen plan to vote Thursday on whether to approve the grant.

“What (the grant) does for us this coming year is we have $25,000 in our budget right now, for a part-time position. If we go with this plan, we can have the SRO position full-time this year for the $25,000 budgeted. So, for this year for sure it’s worthy,” Alden said.

She also said she recently discussed with Rumford Police Chief Tony Milligan how the full-time position may need to be dropped by the district if its school budget is not approved in the next three years.

“So, Chief Milligan’s point was if for whatever reason on the third year we said we can’t pay for (the position) then he felt that person could fill in for a position (at the Police Department) that’s open,” Alden said.

RSU 10 Director Gary Buccina of Rumford told the board he’s not in favor of the grant for the district.

“I’m thinking what if we don’t have school, what if we get halfway this year and we get an uptick in the virus and all of a sudden we’re out of school?” he said. “That officer is going to go to (work at) the Police Department and we’re going to be paying our portion without the (need for the position).

“I don’t think that with all of the psychologists we have in school, the teachers and the interventionists that spending this kind of money to have another person in school is really going to make a difference,” he said. “I would rather not be locked into something like this that’s going to cost us $175,000 after four years.”

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