Charlottetown city councillors took a step in their 2014 municipal budget that Summerside council did not.
Charlottetown council approved $70,000 for two student resource officers (SRO) for schools. This is a follow-up to a program they had funded before.
The program is designed to help improve the school climate dealing with drugs, bullying property damage and mischief.
Councillor Tina Mundy, chairwoman of the police services committee, brought a similar proposal to the floor of Summerside city council last year, based on the success a similar program had at Colonel Gray High School in Charlottetown.
The issue was reviewed by city management and the police chief and, based on their recommendation, council opted not to fund the position.
The reasons given by some councillors were a lack of available police officers to free a member up to take on the program and that the city had no money to bring another person on the payroll to take on the role.
Council opted to go the political pressure route. They planned to meet with the Federation of P.E.I. Municipalities for support and then approach the province for funding.
Justice Minister Janice Sherry put an end to that plan of attack when she said the province doesn't have the money to fund the position.
Mundy got support from Nicole Haire, principal of Three Oaks Senior High School, and from the Three Oaks Parents Council, but still the majority of councillors were not convinced.
Haire said teachers oftentimes find themselves involved in activities that take away from their primary responsibility – teaching and saw a partnership with the city as a worthwhile endeavour.
The argument of a lack of funding for a student resource officer is a weak one at best, particularly when one looks at the reasoning behind the program and what its goals are. The city has less important expenditures that are made.
Mundy continues to maintain the plan for a student resource officer is a good one. Unfortunately, the majority of city council and city management don’t see it that way.
Charlottetown city council has placed the well being of its students high on its priority list.
Summerside should rethink its position and do likewise.