BYRON -- Byron Union will have a school resource officer for the upcoming year, as an advisory group that manages local tax money for police protection decided this week the position should be funded.
The recommendation of the Discovery Bay P-6 Zone Citizen Advisory Committee, which still must be approved by the sheriff and county Board of Supervisors, gives the district time to identify ways to pay for the $180,000 position, which includes the officer's salary, benefits, uniforms, car and more.
"We're grateful to the P-6 committee for supporting safety at our schools," trustee Jill Sprenkel said. "It bought us another year and starts the clock over again."
Until 2011, Byron Union had a five-year, $500,000 federal grant that paid for the bulk of the cost. After that, the district has turned to local agencies for help.
The P-6, which manages taxes paid by residents in several Discovery Bay neighborhoods, has covered about 90 percent of the cost the past few years, with the rest being covered through groups such as parent-teacher associations and fundraising.
The P-6 is cutting into its reserve funds to pay for the resource officers, according to committee members.
Officials said having sheriff's deputy David Allain dividing time between the far East Contra Costa district's three campuses makes them safer. His presence also helps address response time, its greatest concern in the case of a tragedy such as the one at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., in December.
"That's our greatest vulnerability. It's a school issue and a community issue," Sprenkel said.
Contact Paul Burgarino at 925-779-7164. Follow him at Twitter.com/paulburgarino.