Waco ISD superintendent Dr. Susan Kincannon says they’re working to meet the September 1 deadline mandated by the state, however she says its a hard time making this happen.
“There’s a shortage of police officers, and so we really needed more time to prepare for the implementation of something so big,” said Dr. Kincannon.
Dr. Kincannon says they’re planning to hire additional school resource officers (SRO’s) to man every campus.
16 school resource officers currently work in Waco ISD, enough to cover each secondary school in the district.
Waco ISD also has three command officers and 13 security officers, but Kincannon says it’ll be unrealistic to find 12 more officers by September 1.
“The way that we’re planning to handle that while we’re trying to find SRO’s is to hire off duty police officers and pay them an hourly rate to work in our elementary schools,” said Dr. Kincannon.
In Temple, its Superintendent Dr. Bobby Ott says they prepared in advance to have each campus armed.
“We went the option of putting out a request for proposal for a security company and the company that won the award is actually one that we work with for our Friday night football games,” said Dr. Ott.
Temple ISD’s contract with American Paratus will now have security officers to help Temple PD at each campus.
Solving the problem for school security creates another problem for school finances.
“If you’re to hire police officers to cover our gap, it’d be over half a million and H.B. 3 revenue that we generated was about 45 percent that,” said Ott.
Its the same situation for Waco ISD.
The state gave $375,000 to Waco ISD for its security measures, but Waco ISD still needed $500,000 to hire 12 officers.
“That unfunded mandate was very hurtful to not only our school district, but lots of school districts across the state who didn’t already have a security guard at every campus, and I would venture to bet that that’s most of them,” said Dr. Kincannon.
Temple ISD received $200,000 from the state to pay $230,000 for American Paratus.
Low funding from the state legislature is causing both Waco and Temple ISD to operate on a deficit budget.
Using its own funds, Waco ISD has added AI body scanners to each secondary school campus for additional security.
For Temple ISD they added security vestibules to their campuses and additional fencing.