After public dust-up between officials, second District 59 school to get cop

After a public dust-up between a Northwest suburban school district superintendent and Elk Grove Village’s mayor over the latter’s push to add a school resource officer to a junior high, now the school board — controlled by the mayor’s son — has approved hiring a cop to walk the hallways of another school.

A Mount Prospect police officer will be assigned to Holmes Junior High School for the start of the new school year in August, under an intergovernmental agreement approved last week by the Elk Grove Township Elementary District 59 board and pending a vote by the Mount Prospect village board.

An Elk Grove Village police officer has been in place at Grove Junior High School since October, after Mayor Craig Johnson compelled Superintendent Terri Bresnahan to put the matter up for a school board vote amid a spike in incidents and calls to police from the school.

Discussions are still underway about adding a police officer to District 59’s third junior high: Friendship school in Des Plaines.

“The goal is to have them all so everybody is getting the same experience, regardless of which junior high they’re going to,” said TR Johnson, who recently was appointed District 59 school board president and is the Elk Grove mayor’s son.

TR Johnson

Of the new Grove school resource officer position, he said, “At a high level, yes, in terms of what the board intended to do, it’s definitely working.”

Johnson ascended to the elected leadership post with the support of board members who ran on his slate and swept into office in last year’s election. The Save Our Schools slate formed primarily in opposition to Bresnahan’s proposed equity plan, but increasing school safety — through the addition of school resource officers — was also among the group’s tenets.

The slate was backed by the longtime Elk Grove mayor and his campaign fund.

Craig Johnson

Under the agreement with Mount Prospect, District 59 will pay three-quarters of the cost of the police officer’s $205,799 salary and benefit package — essentially covering the nine-month school year. That’s the same percentage the district pays for the Elk Grove officer, and practically the same salary, but a higher total due to higher pension costs, in Mount Prospect. The Elk Grove officer’s total compensation package is $171,154.

TR Johnson acknowledged the slightly higher cost, but said it’s “still within the realm of what the board was comfortable approving.”

Mount Prospect and District 59 officials will meet this summer to select an officer to work at Holmes.

In Des Plaines, Johnson said it seemed unlikely an officer would be in place for the start of the school year at Friendship.

Danny Malik, a former Arlington Heights school resource officer who is now the director for school safety and security in District 59 and Wheeling Township Elementary District 21, told the District 59 board in April that he and district officials were in the “very early stages” of talking with Des Plaines Police Department leadership.

Danny Malik

Malik said an initial concern was that the department couldn’t provide a full-time school resource officer.

Des Plaines officials didn’t immediately provide an update on discussions.

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