HUBER HEIGHTS — A motion to approve an agreement with Wayne schools for two police resource officers turned into a wider conversation at Monday night’s Huber Heights City Council meeting.
Council unanimously voted to supply half the funding for two Huber Heights police officers to serve as resource officers at Wayne schools. The schools will provide the other half of the funds.
But the city’s involvement in providing various forms of financial assistance for the schools became the topic of a discussion that was started by Councilman Seth Morgan.
Morgan said he feels council needs to have a “serious conversation” about the millions of dollars the city has spent supporting the school district.
“I’m not sure the residents know that when they pay their city taxes they’re also subsidizing school activities,” Morgan said. He said it’s important for the city to support the schools but that it also is important that “the taxpayers get something out of it as well.”
“I think we deserve more information than we’re getting about the quality of our schools and the future, what the plans are to address the challenges that I know they face and we face,” he said.
Other council members agreed with Morgan.
Richard Shaw said the city is transparent about its finances, including posting the city’s financial statements on line.
“I’d be more than happy to request that the city manager bring the finance department in to a table and open up our books,” he said. “I would almost request that the schools do the same so we can see exactly dollar for dollar where we’re at. And why is that information not available on the Internet or on the website?”
Ed Lyons said he supported the idea as well as Council Member Nancy Byrge’s suggestion that the topic be addressed at the next city-schools joint meeting.
Lyons asked Morgan if he felt the discussion should be about “the subsidizing we do for schools versus a return on investment.”
Morgan agreed and then expanded on the idea.
“I think one of our largest development challenges in our community is the school system,” he said. “I think this city council and the taxpayers funding the city, who are also funding the schools, to continue to blindly support that, I think there are a couple potential elephants in the room we need to address.”
Lyons suggested council take up the issue at its next work session to develop some specific requests and ideas to take to the school board. Mayor Jeff Gore directed that the issue be put on the agenda for the next work session, which will take place on Sept. 18, 6 p.m. at city hall.
Reach Dave Lindeman at (937) 684-8983 or on Twitter @HH_Courier.