Police presence will once again be in evidence for the student body of Oakdale Joint Unified School District campuses.
The City of Oakdale has partnered with OJUSD to re-establish a School Resource Officer/Police Services position for the 2016-17 school year. A uniformed officer will once again be assigned to OJUSD as was once common practice during the 2005 through 2008 time period.
The partnership between the City and the District has been poised with the strategy of bringing safety and security to the campuses, as well as building positive relations between students and law enforcement.
“We’re very excited that the district has, along with the Oakdale Police Department and the City of Oakdale, discussed and agreed to terms to re-establish and share the cost of a School Resource Officer,” Assistant Superintendent Larry Mendonca stated. “Beyond providing a uniformed officer to respond in an emergency or crisis situation which may occur on campus, we look forward to having an SRO back in our schools to support character education programs, reinforce appropriate conduct and conduct code as well as applicable laws for youth.”
Oakdale Police Chief Lester Jenkins addressed the board, echoing much of what had been shared by Mendonca.
“We know that when children develop a relationship with an officer, they often seek advice about personal issues and are more likely to speak up if they have overheard discussions that might place the entire school in jeopardy,” Jenkins stated. “It also allows us to keep a finger on the pulse of local gang activity and steer a few of the fence sitters in the right direction before they make choices that may destroy their lives and other people around them.”
Superintendent Marc Malone thanked Jenkins, as well as the city for partnering with the district to re-establish the SRO position for the coming school year, noting it was a program that went to the wayside during tough budgetary times.
“I’m very glad we can bring it back not only for the betterment of our school district but for our city,” Malone stated.
In other business, Lance Campbell addressed the board on behalf of the Oakdale Teachers Association. Campbell shared that an emergency meeting of the Executive Board had been called as result of a report from the negotiating team in regards to current contract negotiations.
“I am pleased to say the Executive Board has agreed to move forward and present the tentative agreement with recommendation to our members,” Campbell stated. “We will be presenting the agreement to them on Thursday and voting next week.
“Our team has reported back that they felt the process was very fair, felt both sides really engaged in interest-based bargaining and it was a very positive experience,” he continued. “So, we’re certainly happy with that and look forward to moving on.”
During approval of the consent calendar, board member Michael House gave mention and a statement of gratitude to Mountain View Church for a recent donation to Fair Oaks Elementary School. A donation of a speaker system, sound board, microphone equipment, as well as 65” television (cables and mounting systems included) was made by the church for the school’s new Multi-Purpose Room.
“I just wanted to express my appreciation and gratitude to the congregation for their generosity,” House stated.
The donation was valued at approximately $2,000 was unanimously approved.
The meeting was called to order by President Tina Shatswell promptly at 6:30 p.m. The Pledge of Allegiance was led by Fair Oaks Elementary School students Sydney Peregoy, Kason French, Kingston Durham and Jacob Nickolauson.
The next OJUSD Board meeting will be hosted on Monday, Feb. 1. Open session will begin at 6:30 p.m. and the meeting will be held at the Oakdale Joint Unified Technology Center, 331 Hinkley Ave., Oakdale. The meeting is open to the public.