To the editor:
Last July and October, some ugly scenes unfolded in full public view between the previous School Board and previous City Council over funding school resource officers. “It’s in our budget, not yours,” one city councilor reminded the School Board’s representative as if to counter the presumption that school security was not the legitimate province of the nonpartisan, elected School Board.
Parents, taxpayers, educators and even some on the dais were appalled by the tone of these exchanges. City Council decided that the schools need more counselors and psychologists, when staffing is the School Board’s determination.
The School Board should never again be placed in the position its representatives were placed last year when City Council overrode the School Board’s budget and substituted its own staffing priorities. To prevent a repeat, funding for all in-kind services city agencies provide for the schools, not only SROs, but groundskeeping and similar functions should be contained in the school budget from which it would be debited back to the city as the services are performed.
If the new City Council nixes funding SROs, the School Board would have funding in its budget for the sheriff’s department to perform SRO functions or for special structures to house SROs adjacent to schools as one School Board member has suggested.
To achieve this, the new School Board needs to start planning to initiate staff contacts soon so there is enough time to ascertain the proper funding amounts to include in the school budget.
-Dino Drudi, Alexandria