K-M school board approves two-year school resource officer contract

(ABC 6 News) – The Kasson-Mantorville school board approved a two-year school resource officer (SRO) contract at Monday’s board meeting.

Last week, Superintendent Mark Matuska, Kasson Police Chief Josh Hanson, along with the mayor, city administrator and Dodge Co. Sheriff Scott Rose met to discuss expectations, job duties and solutions to the SRO program at K-M.

Matuska said he heard positive comments from the community and recommended the approval of the contract Monday night. Parents present at the meeting agreed and said they are glad the board approved the SRO for the district because they think that is what is best for students’ safety.

"Sometimes you have to have some messy conversations in order to get what’s best for the kids. I think we got what really is best for kids," K-M Board Chair Kent Harfmann said.

Board members commented on the controversy that happened a few weeks ago when the district proposed replacing the SRO, who was an officer with the Kasson Police Department and reported to the Chief of Police, with what they call a School Resource and Relationship Officer. The latter would be a privately contracted position that would report to the district superintendent.

"It did get a little bit messy on the public side and I think it’s good to have a lot of good public input," K-M Board Member Brandon Madery said to the board.

Board member Amy Olson said she was disappointed in how the new contract came about and how it was handled.

"But I’m very impressed with the leadership from all those who came to the table and were able to make a decision," Olson said.

In the two-year agreement that went before the school board Monday, the district agrees to reimburse the City of Kasson 60 percent of the actual salary and benefits cost for the annual services of the SRO. For the 2022-2023 school year, the estimated cost is about $75,000 and for the 2023-2024school year, the estimated cost will increase slightly to be approximately $78,000.

Madery said the district went with a two-year contract instead of the original one year because they are certain about the contract and two years shows that the district is committed to students’ and staff safety.