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School liaison officer funding still in question

Dec. 12, 2007

The presence of a school liaison officer at Nicolet High and Glen Hills Middle schools remains in limbo in the aftermath of a decision by Glendale city officials to discontinue being the sole source of funding for the position.

Citing budgetary constraints, the Glendale Common Council last month decided to discontinue funding the liaison position, which carries a price tag of $88,578 with salary and benefits, not including overtime.

The liaison's presence at Nicolet and Glen Hills could end by Tuesday, Jan. 1, if an agreement is not met between the three entities.

At this point, Mayor Jerome Tepper said a wait-and-see approach is being adopted before a decision is made.

"I think we need to see how Nicolet responds," Tepper said at a Dec. 10 Common Council meeting.

The city is asking the Nicolet School District to chip in $70,124.25 in 2008 for the position; the city is also asking for $3,690.75 from the Glendale-River Hills School District. The remaining $14,763 would be covered by the city.

City Administrator Richard Maslowski said the figure is based on a computation of how each entity uses the position. During the 10-month school period, the officer is on site at Nicolet 95 percent of the time and at Glen Hills the other 5 percent.

John Gscheidmeier, the liaison officer, works the remaining two months as a regular officer on the city's force.

Nicolet District Administrator Rick Monroe wrote a memo supporting the position.

"I believe that most Glendale parents and community members understand the value of having a liaison officer in the school," Monroe wrote.

Monroe said no funds have been allotted for the position in Nicolet's 2007-08 budget. Nicolet, like all schools, has a budget cycle that starts July 1 and ends June 30.

However, Nicolet may be able to chip in for the 2008-09 school year, he said.

In a drafted set of conditions, Nicolet is proposing to fund 50 percent of the officer's position on days the individual is on hand at Nicolet for a full day. The funding would take place from September to December of next year and would total about $28,000.

The Glendale-River Hills School Board has yet to discuss the issue.

Nicolet is also proposing implementation of a schedule, should the officer be needed for evening events, in an effort to avoid overtime. Other possibilities include having the officer sign in and out of the office daily.

But the stipulations could get sticky because of an existing labor contract.

"(It) dictates the hours and conditions of employment," Maslowski said. "Absent an agreement with the Police Labor Association, the school's request would be in violation of the existing labor contract the city has with the Police Association."

Third District alderman Elliott Moeser pointed out that while Nicolet is based in Glendale, it also serves students in Bayside, Fox Point and River Hills. Only the city of Glendale has been funding the officer's presence at Nicolet.

"Somewhere that has to be discussed, and responsibility needs to be addressed," said Moeser, who stepped down as Nicolet's district administrator after 17 years in July.

Dave Fidlin can be reached at dfidlin@cninow.com or (262) 446-6603.

NEXT STEP

WHO: Nicolet School Board

WHAT: deliberation, possible action on police liaison position

WHEN: 7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 17

WHERE: Nicolet High School, 6701 N. Jean Nicolet Road

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