A special board meeting for the Oakdale Joint Unified School District to cover school safety plans is slated for Monday, Jan. 28 at 6:30p.m. at the Oakdale City Council Chambers, 277 N. Second. The meeting is open to the public.
OJUSD Superintendent Marc Malone said that there will be time for public comments at the meeting. Arrangements were also being made to televise the meeting.
Planned topics for the agenda will include comments from Malone, as well as a report from the district’s Director of Pupil Services Larry Mendonca on school safety plans, laws relating to weapons and communicating crisis information to the public. Oakdale Police Department Chief Lester Jenkins is slated to talk about first responder protocols. Oakdale Teachers Association President Stacy Graham will talk about crisis management from a teacher perspective. Student board member Madison Lane will speak on crisis management from a student perspective. State Assemblywoman Kristin Olsen is also scheduled to be in attendance to discuss legislative issues related to school safety.
Superintendent Malone stated that the district is trying to come up with ways to address some issues with safety and security in some of the schools.
“We acknowledge that we are not perfect,” he said, adding that the district has good safety plans in place but that it is looking for ways to improve.
He noted that many of the district’s schools were built in an era when safety issues that schools are confronted with today were not a concern and were therefore designed much differently. Even with various safety improvements and upgrades that have been implemented, he said there is not a perfect safety scenario.
At one time, OJUSD and the City of Oakdale had an agreement where they shared the costs for two uniformed School Resource (police) Officers. One officer was at the high school campus full time and the other officer spent about 70 percent of the time at the junior high school, and spread the rest of his time between the elementary schools. However, due to budget cuts for the city and the school district, eventually one SRO was on duty, and then the program was cut altogether approximately five years ago. Malone reported that the cost of a uniformed officer with full benefits costs about $80,000.