Budget Cuts May Cut SRO Jobs in Jackson County Schools

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Marianna- Kathy Sneads, Finance Director for Jackson County Schools said It was a budgetary hit, no one saw coming.

"The state allocates a certain amount of money to each school district for school safety- a 'safe schools' allocation" she explained, "and our allocation is being reduced by $13,000 this year."

Trimming the budget could mean trimming the jobs of School Resource Officers- who are paid by county, school board and city funding.

"The district has already talked to the Sheriff's Office about reducing to one officer at Marianna high school and we are crunching numbers to see if we are in a position to fund the reduction of one officer and it is still a little more than what we anticipated in our budget" Sneads said.

It was hard news for Jackson County Sheriff, Lou Roberts.

"We don't want to lose any officers because we feel like those are strategically placed throughout the county" Roberts said. "I personally would not want to be the one to say this school will be getting a school resource officer next year and this school will not get one."

The school board was considering options- like adding money to the safe school allocation and plans to schedule S.R.O.'s to work only when students were present.

School officials said they hoped the other entities who contributed to the S.R.O.'s budget would increase the percentage they'll chip in.

"Makes no difference what school you're in, all of our children are precious to us" Roberts told us. "And we certainly want to do what ever we can to make sure they're safe and part of that is making sure we have adequate coverage of our school resource officers."

Roberts said he planned to meet with Jackson County Commissioners before meeting with the school board on June 8 to revisit the situation.

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