SCBOE approves funding plan for law enforcement officers in schools
By KATIE MCDOWELL/Managing Editor
COLUMBIANA – The Shelby County Board of Education approved its portion of a joint funding plan that could fund law enforcement officials in county schools during its June 6 meeting in Columbiana.
The funding plan, which was introduced during a May 28 Shelby County Commission meeting, is in partnership with the County Commission and county municipalities.
The Shelby County Board of Education will contribute a total of $350,000. Superintendent Randy Fuller said they used school zone populations to determine the breakdown of funds. Fund distribution is Calera, $25,000; Chelsea, $75,000; Columbiana, $25,000; Helena, $25,000; Oak Mountain/Indian Springs, $75,000; Montevallo, $25,000; Pelham, $75,000 and Vincent, $25,000.
The original plan could fund up to 19 law enforcement officers or 35 retired law enforcement officers. Fuller said the municipalities and local law enforcement will determine how the funds are spent.
“Each school zone is different. Each municipality is different. They have to develop a process and procedures for their school and their community,” he said.
Dr. Lewis Brooks, assistant superintendent of administration, spearheaded the project, which began about six months ago. Fuller said Brooks has met with every mayor and police chief in the county, as well as the Shelby County Commission and Shelby County Sheriff’s Office.
“The whole situation has been a pretty methodical process,” Brooks said. “It’s been a series of conversations. What I’ve seen it is as relationship building. We feel like the community needed to see that all of the different governmental entities were working together for this very, very important issue,” he added.
Brooks said there is still work to be done on the funding plan. He is currently working on getting “memorandums of agreement” from other partners.
Council member Jimmy Bice said the plan to fund officers in county schools is only one part of the school system’s security and safety plan.
“It’s a very important part, but it’s only a part,” he said.
Brooks said the school system will host an “active shooter training” at Valley Elementary School June 11 from 8 am.-noon.
“We will have members of each school’s safety teams … in that training,” he said.
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