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School security question will be on ballot in Jackson

JACKSON – Residents who are concerned about school security and the size of the Jackson School District’s budget will have an opportunity to weigh in on those issues on Nov. 6.

A public question on the ballot will ask voters if they want to add six school security officers at a cost of $411,611 for the 2018-19 school year. District administrators said approval of the question would allow for the hiring of six full-time security officers to provide full coverage at all schools.

The district consists of six elementary schools, two middle schools and two high schools.

Voter approval of the ballot question will result in a permanent increase in the school district’s tax levy, administrators said, noting the security expenditures are in addition to the expenditures that are necessary to achieve the New Jersey Student Learning Standards.

District administrators said if the ballot question is approved, the owner of a home assessed at the township average of $327,047 would pay about $10 more in annual school taxes to cover the additional personnel.

“The only way to increase our security force, which is currently made up of many retired police officers, was for us to look at the (ballot question). With the addition of six full-time security officers we would be able to provide full coverage to all of our schools, all day,” Superintendent of Schools Stephen Genco said.

He said Board of Education members believed putting a public question on the ballot was the best way to move forward.

At present, the school district employs a director of security, 10 full-time security officers and three part-time security officers. Through a shared services agreement with the township, two officers employed by the Jackson Police Department also work in the school district.

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