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Port Byron Mayor tells public to “Just keep your mouth shut”

The village of Port Byron spontaneously voted against renewing the school resource officer contract with the Port Byron Central School District Monday night — something the district and parents have been seeking renewal of for weeks.

Unless something changes, June 30 will be SRO Frank Ryan’s last day. On March 25, parents and district representatives asked the village to renew the SRO contract. The support for the renewal followed the district’s announcement that its attempts to engage the village to make updates to its SRO contract were ignored.

Currently, the school district pays SRO Ryan directly. The Cayuga County Civil Service Commission has since asked the district and the village to change the current arrangement, which is set to expire June 30, so that the village pays the officer. The commission reported to village Mayor Ronald Wilson that the school never reported having an SRO, which meant the district wasn’t complying with civil service rules.

When opening the public to be heard portion of Monday’s meeting to about 17 community members, Wilson asked that those with nothing new to add “just keep your mouth shut.”

“I would really like to stress that this has turned into a thing about personalities and not really about positions. Really, all that we’re asking the village to do is to negotiate with us to approve a position for an SRO for the school district,” district Board of Education President Melinda Quanbeck said. “What we need is to be able to reassure that we can protect the students.”

If the village isn’t willing to negotiate, she said it would still be better for the school to know that so it can come up with a solution. She noted that while the contract doesn’t expire until June, it isn’t currently operating legally.

“What I find here is disrespect,” said parent and school employee JoAnn Mapley. “The fact that you just disregard the safety of our students, my child, so flippantly I don’t agree with that.”

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