Johnstown Village Council and the Johnstown-Monroe Local School District are joining forces to form a committee to work together on school safety.

Johnstown Village Council and the Johnstown-Monroe Local School District are joining forces to form a committee to work together on school safety.

Council voted March 20 for Kevin Riffe, Sean Staneart and Joyce Evans to represent the village for a one-year term. The school district will add two representatives to the committee for a total of five members.

"I've just always had an interest in our school working with the village and trying to work out issues that we might have with each other," Riffe said.

One topic the group will discuss is what to do with more than $50,000 from the Ohio Department of Transportation that's to be used for school safety throughout the entire district.

It's in addition to the $250,000 ODOT is contributing from a federal grant to Johnstown's "Safe Routes to School" project.

The project will create a sidewalk on West Coshocton Street so students living in the Rolling Meadows area can walk to Oregon and Searfoss Elementary and Willis C. Adams Middle Schools.

About 700 students through eighth grade walk to school in the J-M district.

Village manager Jim Lenner said $44,550 will go for school safety zones enforcement, possibly including a school resource officer and crossing guards. Education programs on such topics as bicycle safety would run another $3,650, while $1,350 would be used to encourage students to walk or bike to school, and $500 for evaluation programs offered under "Safe Routes to School."

Along with the committee, Lenner said the village, J-M Superintendent Damien Bawn, and Police Chief Don Corbin are currently looking at how they can best use the money for those purposes.

Whatever money the village doesn't use will go back to ODOT, Lenner said.

"(Chief Corbin) is working on a schedule for officers to patrol the school zones during designated times," Lenner said. "We're going to try and spread (the funds) out the rest of this year and all of next year."

"There are a number of ways that it could be spent, and they can decide exactly what's the best way to apply it," council president David Keck said.

The village and school district had a similar collaboration in the past, but the groups didn't meet regularly.

"The village of Johnstown and the Johnstown-Monroe School District have always maintained close ties and work well together at every opportunity," Bawn said. "This new effort to strengthen that resolve promises to provide even more benefit to our community going forward."

"I think a solid working relationship between the village and school district will have an immediate impact by identifying different partnerships and shared resources," Lenner said. "In the future this relationship will encourage sound, planned growth that will not overwhelm the school facilities or village infrastructure."

Lenner said the committee will meet at least once a month, though where and when the first meeting will take place has yet to be decided.