BPSB defers pay increase for School Resource Officers

By Michelle Bates

The Bienville Parish School Board has deferred the proposed School Resource Officer cooperative endeavor agreement with the Bienville Parish Sheriff’s Office until December so that the board will have more time for review. However, all board members are not happy about what Sheriff John Ballance is

In the proposal, Ballance is asking the school board to pay an annual sum of $400,000 “for its proportionate share of all reimbursable costs for SRO training, equipment, vehicles and its replacement, and its proportionate share of the annual pro-rated salary, health insurance premiums and retirement benefits paid to all deputies selected to serve as SROs pursuant to this agreement.”

According to the proposal, he’s asking the school board to help pay for all of those things; it’s not just about deputies’ salaries. The sheriff’s office provides six POST- certified deputies with specialized training to be school resource officers.

The proposal, as in years past, provides a list of duties for each deputy provided to the schools in Bienville Parish. The agreement would be retroactive to Aug. 8, 2023 until June 30, 2025.

In the previous agreement, the school board agreed to pay the sheriff’s office $218,000 annually. Board President Martha Grigg said that would put them paying a total of roughly $66,000 in salary to the deputies. The board pays roughly $36,333 per deputy per year.

“That’s too much. I’d be willing to go $40,000 tops,” she said, adding she’d would support up to a total of $240,000 per year.

Superintendent of Schools William Wysinger gave statistics from the surrounding parishes for what they are paying for their SROs. The Claiborne Parish School Board pays $36,777; Jackson Parish pays zero, the full amount is paid by the Sheriff’s Office; Lincoln Parish School Board pays $35,000; Webster Parish School Board pays $37,773; and DeSoto Parish pays a little higher being close to $47,000.

The agreement will be revisited at the December 7 school board meeting.

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