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CPS to pay more in new school resource officer agreement

Columbia Public Schools will bear a greater cost for four police officers to serve as school resource officers under a new proposal.

The deal between the city and school district would require CPS to pay 55 percent of the officer’s salaries, amounting to $206,837. The current agreement, which expires on Nov. 1, allowed a 50-50 split of the salaries.

The new agreement also limits one school resource officer to two middle schools, rather than assigning one to all six middle schools and the Center of Responsive Education.

City leaders, including Police Chief Geoff Jones, brought up changes they would like to see in the SRO agreement last summer, including a greater financial investment from CPS. Jones also said he would like to see officers take on a greater role in the school’s culture than before.

Second Ward Councilman Michael Trapp said he thought the 55-45 percent cost share was fair.

“You could make an argument that the schools could do more, but I think that modest increase is a show of respect, and I am very grateful,” Trapp said.

Trapp was most excited about a provision letting SROs take part in restorative practices at school. The practice involves school officials repairing relationships between students and adults when a student must be removed from school for various reasons, such as discipline.

“It was Geoff Jones’ belief that the school officers involved with taking kids out of school, we ought to be involved with bringing kids back into school,” Trapp said. “So I like that whole restorative justice approach.”

CPS spokeswoman Michelle Baumstark said SROs already take part in restorative practice, but the agreement requires that the school district give the city more information on their participation.

The measure is scheduled to be voted on at the Oct. 21 city council meeting.


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