Board approves purchase of patrol vehicle

Becky Polaski
Staff Writer

A police vehicle will soon be making its rounds at the buildings within the St. Marys Area School District.
During the St. Marys Area School District Board of School Directors’ meeting on Tuesday evening, board members unanimously approved the purchase of a 2011 Chevrolet Caprice patrol car from the City of St. Marys.
While the cost of the vehicle is $1,500, Eric Wonderling, school board president, explained that the St. Marys Area School District is not investing any money into the vehicle. Instead, donations from area entities were received to cover its purchase and maintenance. In terms of donations, $500 was received from Bluewater Thermal Solutions, $608 from Buerk’s Septic Service, $250 from Elk County Ammo and Arms, $500 from Metco Inc., $500 from St. Marys Auto Body and $200 from Steve’s Lawnmower Repair.
Wonderling expressed gratitude on behalf of the board to all who donated.
The insurance impact is expected to be minimal, and St. Marys Area School District Superintendent Dr. Brian Toth indicated that the vehicle will also be driven “very minimally” by the school district’s police officers.
Its main purpose, Toth explained, is to serve as both a deterrent and a visible presence outside of the school district’s various buildings.
“People going by will know we’re covered,” Toth said.
The vehicle is expected to move between the various buildings that make up the school district. While Toth indicated that he believes its lights will remain functional, he does not expect them to be used.
“All the city decals need changed to St. Marys Area School District,” Toth added.
While he admitted that he was not in favor of the idea at first, Toth remarked that once he learned more about the endeavor, he decided to support it.
“When I found about the donors involved, I thought, ‘Well, it’s basically free,’” Toth said. “When I look at things, I tend to look at it personally, and if someone was going to give me a 2011 car with 88,000 miles, I would take it.”
It was not indicated how soon the vehicle is expected to be in service within the school district.