LEE COUNTY, MISS. (WCBI) – Lee County will not receive a federal grant that would have helped pay for armed deputies at more campuses throughout the school district. Now, supervisors will be asked a second time, to fund half of the costs.
Earlier this year, Lee County Sheriff Jim Johnson and Superintendent Jimmy Weeks proposed the district and county government split the costs to put six new law officers at schools. Currently, only three campuses, Plantersville, Nettleton and Mooreville have deputies on a full time basis.
While the school district committed to spend $280,000, supervisors tabled the issue, waiting to see if the federal grant would come through. But the grant was not approved.
“Now we’re back to square one,” said Sheriff Johnson.
During a special meeting Friday morning, Sheriff Johnson will ask supervisors to amend their budget to pay the costs for the new positions.
“Hopefully they’ll find the funding somewhere, or somebody will because ultimately the safety of our children, and faculty at our schools is our top priority and we certainly do not want to be addressing this after a casualty or something happens,” Johnson said.
Mike Smith is president of the Board of Supervisors. He says school safety is a top priority and he is waiting to hear the sheriff’s recommendations.
“He’s going to tell us about the expenses that’s going to be incurred either through the sheriff’s department or through the school system, whichever one it is and when he talks to us that will not be something we will be able to make an instant decision on, we will have to see what all our options are,” Smith said.
Lee County School Superintendent Jimmy Weeks will be at the meeting, he says he’s not sure what will happen if supervisors do not agree to kick in the $280,000. He says any additional money from the district would have to be approved by the school board , if the money is even there.
Both the county and school district have already approved and passed their budgets for the current fiscal year.
That meeting is set for 9 am Friday at the Lee County Supervisors offices.