State Rep. Mark Romanchuk, Clear Fork school board talk safety

CLEAR FORK VALLEY — Members of the Clear Fork Board of Education had weighty topics to consider at last week’s meeting.

State Representative Mark Romanchuk (R., Dist. Two) told the board security at school buildings is a subject which should be addressed.

Romanchuk asked if the district has a “resource officer.” A human resources officer works with staff to determine proper usage of personnel’s capabilities.

Members told Romanchuk there is such an officer.

Romanchuk said he is not in favor of forcing officers into schools.

That should be “left to the locals,” he said.

But he said the “gentleman in Florida didn’t do his job.”

Romanchuk was referring to the officer who was reported to have delayed going into the school at Marjory Stoneman Douglas School in Parkland, Fl. in the Feb. 14 shooting which killed 17 persons.

Romanchuk said security in schools “should be a consideration.”

He said there are types of security installations that are available. He mentioned fencing which could block off hallways, or devices that would emit a type of gas from the ceilings or from a flower pot.

Board president Kyle Beveridge said if the federal government steps in something could be mandated. He mentioned President Donald Trump’s suggestion that teachers be allowed to carry firearms.

Romanchuk said Trump’s suggestion was that carrying a firearm could be voluntary.

He said the local district should decide but should “look at it.”

Board member Carl Gonzalez said he thinks it would be a good idea to train someone who could profile people coming into the schools. He made reference to a kid who had stolen a gun, and the school didn’t know about it for 48 hours.

Gonzalez said he doesn’t want “flak jackets” but doesn’t want people to be “easy targets” either.

Romanchuk also talked with the board about school funding, and that fact Clear Fork is on “guarantee,” which means that the $700,000 going for school construction is guaranteed.

He said there is a provision which says that if the head count in schools decreases by five per cent, some money can be taken away.

He said there is a “long term hope” that “guarantees” and “caps” could be phased out.

There is a “complicated” funding formula the state uses, and he said that is “constantly changing.”

He also talked to the board about a suggested “education trust” which would be funded by selling land the school board owns.

It has been suggested that 44 acres the board owns in Hamilton Hills be made available to develop into 34 lots. He said he has talked to several home building companies, which have said they are aware that many people want to move here. And building new homes would be attractive to them, he said.

Beveridge said he has made the statement that the district should “grow it or tax it.”

He said he would rather “grow it.” He said if there is expansion, he still wants to take care of the school district.

He said he knows there are “strings attached.”

Romanchuk said it more like “ropes” attached.

Romanchuk mentioned working with Superintendent Janice Wyckoff when there were discussions whether there should be one or two new elementary schools.

He said Wyckoff is a “joy to work with” and is tough.

“I like that about her,” he said.

State representative Mark Romanchuk, speaking at the Clear Fork School Board meeting. Louise Swartzwalder | Bellville Star representative Mark Romanchuk, speaking at the Clear Fork School Board meeting. Louise Swartzwalder | Bellville Star