SCOTTSBORO, Ala. (WAFF) - Paying for school resource officers has proven to be a difficult task for many school systems across the Tennessee Valley. In Scottsboro, the City Council approved a motion to give the city school system $30,000 to help foot the bill.
At their council meeting Monday, the council passed a measure to appropriate the money from the city’s general fund. Ad valorem taxes are funneled into the general fund which has some additional funds this year, Councilman Mike Ashburn explained.
“This gives the faculty and students a sense of security knowing there is a good guy on campus should there be a time we have a bad guy on campus," said Superintendent Dr. Jose Reyes Jr.
Currently, two out of the five school campuses have an officer on site.
Reyes explained that three additional officers would cost the system around $100,000. Through a number of individual and business donations, the system only has a third of that money.
Starting in September, Reyes projects four out of the five campuses will have an officer on site. The fifth school, Caldwell Elementary, is across the street from the city police station.
The two new officers are funded through the city appropriation and $34,000 of donated funds.
The council also updated the Memorandum of Understanding between the city and school system. This change allows the system to hire part-time retired officers to work as SROs.
“Scottsboro Schools was a great place and still is but I’m happy that we’re getting a new level of security," said sixth-grader McGowan Holt.
He is a student at Collins Intermediate, one of the schools getting an officer in the coming weeks.
“Instead of worrying about being safe and not getting hurt while you’re at school, you can actually learn and do things that you want to do," stated Holt.
The city appropriation is only good for this year, meaning the City Council will have to revisit the topic annually.
Reyes is confident the help individuals and businesses have given will eventually sustain the SRO program.
The city school board will formally vote on these changes at their regular meeting Wednesday.