School is back in session. Lawrence County students began their first day of the 2019-2020 school year Wednesday, Aug. 7.
Earlier this year, the superintendent said students will return to schools that “will be more protected this year than they ever have.”
The Lawrence County Sheriff’s Department will employ four full-time School Resource Officers and two part-time SROS for county schools this year, Sheriff Max Sanders confirmed Friday.
Last year the department employed four part-time SROs and two full-time officers, he added.
“We have done some calculations, and our plan is now to have more full-time and less part-time officers dedicated to being SROs,” Smith said. “We met with Sheriff Sanders and his staff, and I believe we will have the best coverage we’ve ever had and will ensure the SROs will be certified.”
Sanders said the budget for SROs was doubled to $160,000 this year from $80,000 in 2018. He said additional deputies and officers from Moulton, Courtland, North Courtland and Town Creek would routinely patrol campuses when they are in the area as well.
Smith said the additional funds for SROs were obtained this year from a state supplemental appropriations fund and federal funds allocated to safety.
This year, faculty members will also participate in active shooter courses through ALICE Safety Training and become ALICE (alert, lockdown, inform, counter and evacuate) certified, said Smith.
In weeks leading up to the start of the school year, the school board also approved several projects that will be funded by a portion of the $1.25 million state supplemental appropriation fund that must be spent by the end of fiscal 2020.
Such projects approved for the 2019-2020 school year included the installation of a video security system at East Lawrence High School, not to exceed $7,950 and the installation of video security and intercom systems at the Judy Jester Learning Center, not to exceed $9,530.
Smith said the school board has allocated about $550,000 for maintenance projects to be carried out at each of the public schools in Lawrence County. Awning installations at Lawrence County High School were another priority listed by the superintendent that will benefit from the appropriations fund.
The board also plans to use some of the state funding to expand the career tech center.
“We’ll be adding a second industrial maintenance program,” he said in a July 23 board meeting. “The money cannot be used for recurring expenses such as salaries, but a lot of the equipment for industrial maintenance will come out of this fund.”
He said the supplemental appropriation fund could only be spent on transportation, insuring facilities, repairs or deferred maintenance, school safety measures, technology and classroom instructional supplements.