Possibility of school resource officers discussed

Published 9:34 am Wednesday, August 23, 2017

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior Staff Writer

The possibility of having school resource officers for each Chilton County school was discussed during a Board of Education work session on Aug. 22.

Board member Pam Price asked if there was any money available for school resource officers, so schools other than those in Clanton could have one. Board member Curtis Smith said he has been asked about this by community members also.

Superintendent Tommy Glasscock said the city of Clanton pays to have an SRO from the Clanton Police Department at their schools.

“There are no funds available for SROs from the state,” Glasscock said. “We are just funded at the minimum.”

He said having SROs in each of the schools was a “great idea,” but local funding probably could not cover the salary for an officer at each school.

Chief School Financial Officer LaVerne Williams said any officers at other schools would need to be paid through local funding.

“That’s really the only money that we can do what we want with,” Williams said.

Glasscock, Williams and board member Joe Mims said there was not enough local revenue to pay for an SRO at each school.

The possibility of contracting with the Sheriff’s Office was discussed. Glasscock said they could possibly start with having one rotate to different schools.

Funding for teacher positions that had been paid with local funds in recent years will be paid with state funding this year. All teacher positions will be funded through state or federal funds. Mims said that there had been 12 positions paid with local funds in the past. Williams said the state was more likely to increase the funding for a school system for teachers rather than building related costs. Utilities that had been paid with state funding will now be paid from local funds.

“That is almost unheard of to have no locally funded units,” board member Keith Moore said. “You all did a great job.”

Williams cautioned that this could change if additional items had to be added to the budget.

Moore said funding teachers with local revenue when it is available is not a bad thing, but Chilton County Schools does not have the local funding to be able to do this.

Some central office and administration positions that are paid with local funds.

Concerns about future funding were also discussed. The Alabama Board of Education is eliminating the Title II funding in the 2019 fiscal year. Assistant principal Adriane Dennis said these funds are used to pay three class size reduction teachers and teachers for the English Language Learners program.

“We need more class size reduction right now, but we don’t have the money to fund it,’ Dennis said. “It’s going to be a problem because … we pay a portion of several salaries (with those funds).”

Glasscock said ELL teachers will also continue to be a need.

Moore said these positions may have to be paid through local funds next year.

Mims said the school system will pay off a bond this year and that money will be available “but then what are you going to use to build with?”

Chilton County School will lose $310,863 in annual funding when the Title II funding is discontinued. A specific plan for addressing this in the 2019 fiscal year budget was not discussed.