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Resource officer to be assigned to Redfield school

REDFIELD – A school resource officer will be assigned to Hardin Elementary School in Redfield with the start of the 2013-14 school year in August.

Mayor Tony Lawhon and Police Chief Steve McFatridge told the city council meeting last week that they hoped to negotiate an agreement with White Hall School District superintendent Larry Smith for the Redfield Police Department to provide a school resource officer when school is in session. The district will reimburse the police department 50 percent of the salary and benefits of an SRO, the same arrangement the school district has with the city of White Hall.

The ad hoc Save Redfield Middle School ask the city’s aldermen April 2 to take make every effort to obtain the school building that is scheduled to close May 31 for use as an open charter school and for community youth activities.

Lawhon told Greg Farley the municipality does not have a legal standing to obtain the school building.

The task force has considered several options since the school board’s January vote, including establishment of an open-enrollment charter school, requesting the state Board of Education for the former Redfield School District to withdraw from the White Hall district and reverse the merger of 1950, and home schooling Redfield students.

Farley said task force members are concerned that the White Hall district may decide in the future to close Hardin Elementary School in Redfield.

Todd Dobbins, who chairs the task force, told Redfield aldermen the organization faces a looming deadline on applying for charter school status for the 2014-15 school year, while Farley said 800 Redfield residents have signed a petition in support of a charter school.

“We need the city’s leaders to move forward,” Farley said. “We need the city to take action. We need the council to stand up and say we are tired of being run over.”

Farley asked the city to file a civil suit in an effort to dissolve the 1950 agreement merging the White Hall district and the former Redfield district.

He also asked the city to obtain a “line-by-line audit” of maintenance on the two schools in Redfield since 2006, contending the two schools have been “denied equal money.”

City Attorney Margaret Dobson said the council “can ask all day long (to obtain the building), but it won’t happen … (there are) limits on what the city can do.”

In other action, Redfield aldermen authorized Realtor Gary Case to list 8.4 acres of undeveloped residential property in Cabot that has been donated to the city. Case said he would recommend listing the property for $60,000 and accept $50,000 to sell the tract.