Pubdate: Wed, 11 Feb 2004
Source: Winona Daily News (MN)
Copyright: 2004 Winona Daily News
Author: Kirsten Singleton


The DARE program will continue through the end of the school year, if not 

"What's going to happen in the future is still full of question marks," 
said Winona police officer Kevin Kearney, who teaches the Drug Abuse 
Resistance Education program to area fifth-graders.

After the city of Winona cut DARE funding last year, Kearney led months of 
fund raising to keep the program alive.

Kearney taught DARE to eight classes at Winona Middle School, St. 
Stanislaus and St. Matthew's.

But when fund-raising efforts only yielded $30,000 - half of the program's 
cost n Winona Police Chief Frank Pomeroy pulled the plug on the program.

That left, however, $30,000 in the DARE fund, and Kearney was asked to find 
a solution.

Pomeroy suggested forming a committee to address the issue, Kearney said, 
so that Kearney wasn't charged with making the decision by himself.

In early January, Kearney and his fellow committee members n County 
Commissioner David Stoltman, businessman Mark Zimmerman and Kwik Trip 
manager Judy Baker n came up with this proposal, which was presented to 
Eric Bartleson, superintendent of Winona Area Public Schools, and Winona 
Middle School Principal Scott Hannon:

The Winona school district will be given all the funds raised for DARE, 
about $30,000, and will administer the funds, reimbursing the police 
department for providing a certified DARE instructor to teach the 
curriculum to fifth-grade students who did not participate in the program 
during the first semester of the school year.

If WAPS later decides not to continue the DARE program and money remains in 
the fund, that money will be forwarded to another entity that legally uses 
the registered DARE name, such as Winona County DARE or Minnesota DARE.

The agreement means that five classes of Winona Middle School 
fifth-graders, plus students at Ridgeway Community School, St. John's in 
Nodine and Bluffview Montessori School, will be able to participate in the 

"When I was at the Winona Middle School teaching half the fifth-graders, 
seeing the rest of the fifth-graders and knowing that they wouldn't have 
the program," it was tough, Kearney said.

Kearney, who has moved on to second-shift patrol, will teach DARE during 
his off-duty hours, and his regular patrol duties will be a priority.

He said teaching DARE this semester will cost about $12,000, leaving 
$18,000 left in the fund at the end of the year.

This isn't a long-term solution, he said. But at least it's a start.

"In a way it kind of buys us time - keeps us on life support," Kearney said.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Beth Wehrman