FOND DU LAC, Wis. (WBAY) - Fond du Lac parents are concerned with a proposal to cut one of the school resource officer positions in the Fond du Lac School District. There are currently five SROs responsible for the more than 15 district facilities.
Fond du Lac High School (WBAY photo)
Carrie Shipton has three sons in the Fond du Lac School District. Her oldest will be starting high school in the fall. She, like many other parents, have issue with the idea of the district cutting one of the five school resource officer position in the next school year.
"With all of the school shootings and fights and drugs and all of the problems we have in the schools nowadays, I really think it's a bad idea to cut back on any of that. I would prefer that they actually add a few," says Shipton.
According to Fond du Lac Police Chief Bill Lamb, for more than a dozen years the school district and the city have had a partnership with the school resource officer program. It's overseen by a committee of school and city officials with an agreement that the city pays for 50 percent of the SRO's salary, the district pays the other half.
Two officers work at the high school, three others split duties at the district middle school buildings, and then all five have responsibilities at the elementary school level.
Chief Lamb says, "Their work is largely focused on supporting the school and their mission. Of course there's s safety component to that, but there's also an educational one, and that's where we really try to have them focus on helping the kids whether it's the kindergartners or up through senior level."
Even though school is only in session for nine months a year, the SROs never return to normal patrol. They spend their summers working school duties and handling juvenile issues and cases.
Despite that, Action 2 News has learned for the past two years the committee that oversees the SRO program has been discussing a restructuring of the financial model to include less compensation by the district since school isn't in session over the summer. But, the city doesn't agree and neither do parents who say their children's safety is a top priority.
In an email exchange with the school board president, Linda Uselmann says that the issue was supposed to be visited later this spring, but she anticipates discussions will happen much sooner than that.
Chief Lamb adds, "Between the city and the school district, conversations remain ongoing, they remain positive. I think it's safe to say both sides want to see a positive outcome, and I would define that positive outcome as something both sides are agreeable to."