Updated: Jan 20
MOUND CITY – The Linn County Commissioners approved and signed letters to the three school districts about the costs of School Resource Officers (SRO) on Monday, Jan. 3.
Linn County Counselor Gary Thompson presented the letters and agreements for the school districts asking that each school district pay $12,000 per year for each SRO that they have from the county.
With one SRO, Pleasanton USD 344 is being asked to pay $12,000. Jayhawk USD 346, with an officer in both the elementary school and the junior-senior high school, would pay $24,000. Prairie View USD 362 has an officer in both elementary schools and one in the high school/middle school and would pay $36,000.
The agreements state that the districts shall pay this by Jan. 31 each year for the next five years, and after that it will be renewed on a yearly basis. Each party will have the right to terminate or re-negotiate the agreement at least 90 days prior to the end of the agreement or the end of any renewal period.
For this amount, the county will provide sworn officers provided by the Linn County Sheriff’s Office and assigned under department protocols to work in the school districts.
This issue first surfaced in July 2021 when Linn County Commissioner Jim Johnson said that he was instrumental in having the superintendents meet with the commissioners. He said that it had been brought to his attention that the program is a liability issue to the county and a huge cost to the county.
At that time, Pleasanton Superintendent Travis Laver pointed out the inequity of the amount for taxpayers in the Pleasanton School District. He said that the program had been originally set up through the county so an even amount could be spread across the county. Laver said that the same taxpayers are being hit.
In July, Laver explained that Prairie View’s valuation is $220 million while Pleasanton’s is $20 million. Prairie View can collect $220,000 for one mill while Pleasanton can only collect $20,000 for one mill.
A mill is $1 of tax for every $1,000 of assessed property valuation. Kansas has a statewide assessment percentage of 11.5 percent, so a house with an appraised market value of $100,000 would have a tax assessment value of $11,500. If the tax rate on that residence is one mill, the tax levied would be $11.50.
Laver said during that meeting that the equity for the taxpayer is not there if each school district pays the same amount for the SRO. Prairie View’s taxpayers pay very little for an SRO officer while it is a large amount for Pleasanton taxpayers.