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BSD Receives State Grant to Fortify School Safety

The City of Lower Burrell and the Burrell School District are jointly announcing the receipt of a $60,000 grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Education to assist funding the placement of a school resource officer in the Burrell School District in early 2015.

This grant award is part of $3.9 million in funding Governor Corbett has committed for placing police officers and resource officers in schools across Pennsylvania as part of his commitment to the safety of Pennsylvania school students.  Pennsylvania State Representative Eli Evankovich, who supported the efforts of the School District and the City during the application process, notified us on Friday we would be receiving the full grant award.   The grant award will aid in covering salary and some equipment costs associated with the school resource officer for calendar year 2015.  The City and the District will be eligible to receive $30,000 in funding to continue the program in 2016.

Lower Burrell Police Officer John Marhefka, an 18 year veteran of the Department, long time DARE officer, and former Pennsylvania DARE Officer of the Year recipient will serve as the school resource officer.  Officer Marhefka was recently certified as a school resource officer through training provided by the National Association of School Resource Officers. Once the program commences Officer Marhefka will be assigned full-time to the school district.  He will be based at the Burrell High School, but will regularly visit all district buildings and conduct safety and other law enforcement related programs with students in all grade levels.  His primary function will be to form positive relationships with all students as a means to increase student safety.

The Burrell School Board, the City Council, the District Administrative Staff, and the Lower Burrell Police Department are committed to making our schools as safe as possible.  The school resource officer will be another layer of security we can provide in our continued efforts to increase the safety of our students while in school.  We look forward to launching this program in January 2015.

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