Bradley Beach Officials Discuss Placing Police Officer in School

By PETE WALTON

Though the first day of school is only a week away, the Bradley Beach Board of Education has yet to decide whether a police officer will be present in the elementary school, according to Borough Councilman John Weber.

Weber, who is the council’s liaison to the school board, said at this week’s council meeting that Police Chief Leonard Guida presented a proposal to the board for a police officer  to be on the premises during the school day.

On May 15, Guida met with the board and proposed an agreement between the board and the borough to station a full-time officer in the school. The board would contribute the $20,000 for the cost of the officer’s salary.

“I spoke for an hour before the board answering their questions and questions from the public, “Guida said after the council meeting.

With school opening just a week away Guida said he was curious as to when a decision would be made.

“I believe this proposal has the majority of the council’s support to make this come to fruition,” he said.

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Stephen Wisniewski, who is also the principal of Bradley Beach Elementary School, said he met with the chief prior to the workshop and that he was in favor of the proposal.

Several school board members expressed their concerns and asked questions about the idea.

The discussion included the difference between a Class III officer and a regular police officer, policies dealing with student behavior, special training for in-school officers, studies about the effects of stationing police officers in schools, and whether the board would have a say in choosing the officer.

Guida said the borough does not have a Class III designation.

Also at this week’s council meeting, Councilman Harold Cotler said that recent changes in federal tax law could prompt some local governments and school districts to reexamine their spending habits.

“Limiting the property tax deduction is a good idea,” he said. “It forces the county and school districts to do what we have done here, which is to be fiscally responsible,” referring to the borough’s successful efforts to maintain a stable municipal tax rate.

Councilman Randy Bonnell said the plan proposed by New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy would not benefit people on fixed incomes. He also said that implementation of the plan to let residents contribute to borough departments and deduct those contributions from their taxable income would create a “mountain of paperwork” for the town.

Mayor Gary Engelstad said that the state proposal was “going nowhere” because the federal Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service will not allow it.

Bonnell also said the county is still considering a proposal to reduce Memorial Drive to two lanes, one in each direction, between Routes 33 and 35. The speed limit would also be lowered to 30 miles per hour.

Narrowing the road from two to four lanes and reducing the speed limit could allow for creation of up to 150 more parking spaces, according to Bonnell.

“It would relieve some of the angst people have about redevelopment on Main Street,” the councilman said.

 

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