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Fort Zumwalt Votes to Fund DARE Program

School board approve a proposal to fund the drug-education program for fifth grade students.

DARE education for fifth grade students in the will continue after a funding approval granted by the school board. 

During Monday's May meeting, the Board agreed to a proposal provided by superintendent Dr. Bernard DuBray to fund officers who help provide the drug-free education to students. O'Fallon police had requested funding help for the officers and, without the money, may not be able to continue the program. Stressing the importance of the program, DuBray said it was vital for the district to fund the officers and keep students educated about the dangers of drugs.

The police didn't ask for a specific dollar amount, so DuBray and the district created a formula to find something that would be fair to all parties involves. Zumwalt took the off-duty rate for police and divided it half to fit the time needs to reach a number: $3,075 per officer in O'Fallon to instruct the 41 fifth grade classes.

Although St. Peters, which has 12 fifth grade classes, and St. Charles County, which has five classes, have yet to ask for financial support, DuBray said it wouldn't be fair to help out just one department. He proposed funding those officers, again based on off-duty rates. The numbers came out to $990 for officers and $750 for St. Charles County officers. 

In total, the plan would cost the district $8,800 to support the DARE officers. DuBray said he felt like the money was enough to support the officers, but not too much to put the district in a bind. O'Fallon Mayor Bill Hennessy, who was at the meeting, said he supported the plan because the money would help the city's police out. 

After making sure it wasn't setting a bad precedent and it was something the district could afford—DuBray said it wasn't a bad precedent and it could be easily budgeted—the board voted unanimously to approve the funding.

During the run up to the election, winning candidates and both weighed in on the issue of DARE funding. MacCormack, who was absent on Monday, said he was not in favor of cutting DARE. Story said cutting DARE would have to be considered if the district needed financial relief, but that the board would have to decide which cuts would be the least detrimental to lowest number of students.

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