Resource officer will be added

Robert Smith rsmith@pawhuskajournalcapital.com

The Oklahoma State Department of Education has named the Osage County Interlocal Consortium to receive a $383,500 grant.

The money the consortium will receive is part of a $4-million grant distribution by the state. It was one of 18 winners in the Champions of Excellence grant round. The Co-op submitted its grant application on behalf of 10 school districts and about 3,800 students. Thus, the ratio of grant dollars per student is about $100 per head.

The consortium’s grant amount was the largest single award in the grant round, according to the state Department of Education.

The 10 districts for which the Co-op wrote the grant include Bowring, Caney Valley, Hominy, McCord, Osage Hills, Pawhuska, Shidler, South Coffeyville, Woodland and Wynona. The grant money will be spent to help the participating school districts in the “focal areas” of safe and healthy schools, and fine arts.

Osage County Sheriff Eddie Virden told county commissioners Monday the grant will, in part, allow the sheriff’s office to hire a second school resource officer for the next year. Osage County school districts where the sheriff’s office has the primary responsibility for providing school-security assistance are served by just one school resource law officer.

Dr. Jacque Canady, executive director of OCIC, praised Virden for pledging to continue to keep the second school resource officer on-duty even after the one-year life of the Champions of Excellence grant.

“I think that is kudos to him,” Canady said. She said OCIC has hired Caitlin Coody, of Skiatook, to serve as a fine arts educator for the school districts participating in the grant. Coody will be responsible for implementing fine-arts activities for students, for purchasing supplies for the schools and for providing fine-arts professional development for staff members in the participating schools, according to OCIC’s grant application abstract.

Levi Patrick, assistant executive director of curriculum and instruction for the state Department of Education, pointed out that Oklahoma will receive an additional $11 million of federal funds this fiscal year in connection with the Champions of Excellence grant round. That will likely translate into another $10,000 each of support for the 10 districts served by OCIC in its grant, Patrick said.

In addition to hiring a new school resource officer, OCIC’s grant application abstract shows that the Co-op anticipates increasing counseling, psychological and social services to meet student needs.