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Published: Thursday, 7/17/2003

New drug-prevention program being urged for Rossford

BY KARIN KOWALSKI
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Rossford City Council member Molly Jakubec said she's disappointed with the results of the Drug Abuse Resistance Education program at the high school level, and suggested the city look into other programs.

The program in the schools with city police is funded by a state grant from the attorney general's office, with the city picking up the rest. Last year, the state provided $10,000 and the city spent about $30,000.

The city has asked the Rossford School Board to contribute to the salary of the officer who runs the DARE program in the schools, Councilman Rich Kovach said.

Rossford schools superintendent Luci Gernot said the district has not made any decisions about its potential involvement with the DARE program.

Mrs. Jakubec was the lone dissenting vote to continue DARE in the schools in September 2002, saying she was waiting to see the results of the pupil survey for the 2002 school year about substance abuse habits, and that she had doubts about funding the program.

Those survey results show that substance abuse among sixth through 12th-grade Rossford students was lower than national averages in most categories, but it still suggested that the program was not as effective with older students as it is with younger students, she said this week.

She suggested the city investigate other programs such as the Perrysburg Area Substance Abuse Prevention Partners program and the Challenge Day, a daylong program that addresses a variety of issues concerning young people.

“We should find out what really works in the high schools,” Mrs. Jakubec said.

The Toledo Police Department stopped its DARE affiliation because of doubts about its effectiveness and is now involved with Keep A Clear Mind, which requires parental involvement. However, Rossford Police Chief Dennis Foy was confident in his city's program.

“Our program works very well here,” Chief Foy said, and went on to praise the abilities of DARE Officer Bill Hamilton.

The motion to officially support the DARE program was given its first reading Monday, then it was tabled until the next regular council meeting.

In other council discussion this week:

w Council members heard the city is facing a projected $44,000 budget shortfall by the end of the year. Current city revenue is $9,146,656 and current expenses are $9,137,807 according to Finance Director Laurie Sabin.

Councilman Chuck Duricek said the fire department would cut more than $2,000 from its budget by saving money on training. It could send fewer firefighters to training sessions, and have the trained firefighters teach what they learned to the others. He also said he would consider cutting prosecution costs.

w The council approved an annual assessment of property owners to pay for lighting in public places. The assessment is about $155,000 for 3,000 homes and businesses, coming to about $52 per property owner to be added to next year's taxes, Mr. Langevin said.



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