Asked to pay for more school safety, Carteret County Commissioners say "no"

Asked to pay for more school safety, Carteret County Commissioners say "no"

CAPE CARTERET, CARTERET COUNTY - An armed police officer will soon be stationed at White Oak Elementary School in Carteret County, thanks to Cape Carteret filling the funding gap created by Carteret County Commissioners' refusal to pay their share of the cost.

The total cost for the school resource officer, or SRO, is $46,800, according to Cape Carteret Mayor Dave Fowler.

The majority of the cost, $30,800, will be covered by a state grant.

The remaining money had to come from local governments.

All of the five municipalities that send students to White Oak agreed to pay their share of $16,000, based on how many students each town sends to White Oak.

Carteret County Commissioners were asked to pay approximately $5,000 to cover the students who do not reside in any municipality.

The Commissioners refused.

Commission Chairman Jonathan Robinson, one of five who voted no, said the county already spent money to install buzzers on doors at schools throughout the county.

He also voted "no" because Cape Carteret didn't advise Commissioners before the state grant was sought, Robinson said.

Fowler, the mayor, praised the buzzers, but said they were not enough.

"The buzz-in system is the exact same system that Sandy Hook has, or had...  and we know how that worked out," Fowler said, referring to the Connecticut school where a gunman killed 20 people in late 2012.

Fowler said Cape Carteret will cover the shortfall created by the commissioners' denial.

Of the county board, Fowler said, "If you don't protect your citizens' safety, than what good are you, really?"

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