Jackson Mayor: Council Could Cut School Resource Officer Funding
JACKSON, Tenn .– Jackson city leaders could cut funding that pays for some school resource officers in the Jackson-Madison County School System. “You name it, we do it,” Tammie Robertson said, a school resource officer at North Parkway Middle School. “As school resource officers you come in, you never know what you’re gonna deal with from one day to the next.” The city of Jackson pays for four of the 12 SRO positions in the district. Jackson Mayor Jerry Gist says the city could cut two SRO officers at Parkview Learning Center, one from Liberty Tech Magnet High School, and one from Jackson Central Merry Academy of Medical Technology. The city recorder says it will save the city about $240,000. “It’ll be a matter of council approving those resource officers to come out of the city budget and right now we are not proposing to include those,” Gist said. Gist blames the budget problems on a revenue shortage and a mix-up involving the mixed liquor drink tax. “Really as the door closes, we need those officers back on the street,” Gist said. Superintendent Dr. Verna Ruffin says taking away SRO funding would have a tremendous impact on the school budget. “I definitely think that if the city cuts it, we’re going to have to determine a way of how to maintain our resource officers in the school system and then what do we give up to make sure that we provide those for our schools,” Ruffin said. Robertson says schools are safer with an officer. “They know that they can’t get away with things because there’s an officer on site,” she said. Gist says city council members will vote on the budget in June.