Education

Officials Approve $13 Million Toward School Safety Following Colorado Shooting, But District Is Not On Board

REUTERS/Rick Wilking

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Neetu Chandak Education and Politics Reporter

Officials approved putting $13 million toward school security throughout Douglas County, Colorado, schools Tuesday following a shooting, but the district’s board does not agree with the plan.

Douglas County Commissioners approved of $13,331,250 toward school mental health care and security after previously proposing $10 million at a May 13 meeting. The funding would affect the upcoming school year.

A one-time funding of $10 million was requested to go toward security technology at school entry ways and mental health services for children and $331,250 was asked to go toward a “community response team” to address mental health among students and families.

The rest of the $3 million would fund half of the cost of school resource officers, but “with the condition that any school in the county match the other 50% ongoing before Douglas County expends any of the $3 million.”

“We knew we had to have a response that was swift, deliberate and aligned with our responsibility for funding public safety,” commissioner Lori Thomas said, Colorado Public Radio reported Tuesday.

The Douglas County School Board said it would not be possible to follow the provision regarding school resource officers, according to the board’s response given to The Daily Caller News Foundation by Douglas County School District (DCSD)’s public information officer Paula Hans Wednesday.

“Our public schools will only be able to take advantage of the one-time funds offered by the Commissioners if the funds are utilized in accordance with the Commissioners desired purposes, regardless of whether or not these goals are recommended by security experts or the DCSD Board of Education,” the board’s response said. “The Commissioners also shared that ongoing funds can only be accessed if matched, which we have expressed to the Commissioners is virtually impossible at this point in the budget of our schools.”

DCSD has allocated “ongoing revenue” toward the upcoming school year’s budget, which starts July 1. The district has accounted for safety and mental health as well, Hans said to TheDCNF.

A man cries at a vigil for the victims of the shooting at the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) School in Highlands Ranch, Colorado, U.S., May 8, 2019. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

A man cries at a vigil for the victims of the shooting at the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) School in Highlands Ranch, Colorado, U.S., May 8, 2019. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

The commissioners’ decision comes following the STEM School Highlands Ranch shooting on May 7, which left eight students injured and one dead. (RELATED: Officials Ready To Put $10 Million Toward Security Following Colorado School Shooting. Here’s What Parents Think)

Community members in the county expressed they were grateful for the one-time $10 million funding at a May 13 meeting, but wanted long-term solutions. Some called for metal detectors, more school resource officers and arming teachers.

Douglas County Commissioners did not immediately respond to TheDCNF’s request for comment.

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