Portage school officials question new firearms law

2013-08-14T20:15:00Z 2013-08-14T23:39:04Z Portage school officials question new firearms lawJoyce Russell joyce.russell@nwi.com, (219) 762-1397, ext. 2222 nwitimes.com

PORTAGE | A legislative bulletin from a state school association had Portage Township Schools Superintendent E. Ric Frataccia shaking his head Wednesday night.

"The way I read it, it says the school board cannot ban patrons from having firearms on school property," Frataccia told School Board members at their discussion meeting.

That, he said, goes against efforts to keep students and staff safe.

However, Frataccia said the bulletin from the Indiana School Boards Association Legal Services explaining the state firearms law was confusing.

He and board members Jessica Bailey and Rhonda Nelson agreed, as they read the information, in one section state law forbids a school district from banning firearms on school property and in another, it says a patron or employee can be charged with a crime for possessing a firearm on school property.

Frataccia said he needs to sit down with the school district's attorney to get an interpretation of the law.

Present Portage policy bans firearms on school property by anyone except school resource officers. Signs are posted at each school building telling visitors and employees they are in a gun-free zone.

That policy might have to be revamped, he said, depending on the school attorney's opinion.

In other business Wednesday, the board held a public hearing on the proposed 2014 budget. No residents commented.

Frataccia said the general fund is proposed to increase from $52.8 million to $54.6 million. The state-funded account will increase primarily due to health care costs and personnel increases.

The debt service fund will increase slightly from $6.8 million to $7 million.

Also:

• The school pension debt service fund will remain about the same at $1.4 million.

• the capital projects fund will increase by $50,000, remaining about $8.5 million.

• The transportation fund will increase slightly from $6.3 million to $6.4 million.

• The bus replacement fund will remain about the same at $1.7 million.

The board is expected to adopt the budget at its Aug. 26 meeting.

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About Portage

City Hall
6070 W. Central Ave. Portage, IN 46368
(219) 762-5425

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2693 Irving Street Portage, IN 46368
(219) 762-3122

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3401 Swanson Rd Portage, IN 46368
(219) 762-7404

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Porter County Public Library
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