Employee: Some DeKalb school cuts could impact safety

by: Richard Elliot Updated:

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DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. - A DeKalb County School Resource Officer warns any cuts to his department could result in a reduction in school safety.

William Davidson, an SRO at Stone Mountain High School, told the DeKalb County School Board at a public hearing Wednesday night that cutting 10 officers would have a negative impact on school safety.

"If we eliminate the 10 SRO's, then we eliminate some of that safety," said Davidson. "Right now, we're working with just the bare minimum of enough officers. If one of them or two of them happen to sick out, we're in a mess already."

But district spokesman Walter Woods disputes that assessment. He said none of the proposed cuts would come from the 72 SROs inside the county's high schools and middle schools. All the cuts, he said, would come from the 20 or so employees inside the SRO's administrative offices.

"We don't think it'll impact school safety," said Woods. "So, these administrative positions are being considered. We take school safety very seriously, and the budget would not affect that."

The DeKalb County School Board is looking for ways to fill in a $73-million budget shortfall. Layoffs, larger class sizes and a 1-mill property tax increase are all being considered. Officials blame the collapse of property values across DeKalb County along with higher health care costs.

The board is expected to vote on its final budget by June 11th.



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