West Contra Costa School District considers removing school resource officers

HERCULES, Calif. (KGO) -- Despite the recent shootings in schools across the country, the West Contra Costa Unified School District is talking about possibly removing school resource officers, known as SROs, by the next school year.

This is stirring up a great deal of controversy among parents, teachers and school board members.

There are two armed and well-trained school resource officers for the Hercules Middle and High School.

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They cost the West Contra Costa School District $360,000 a year, benefits included.

"I do think, in many ways, this is an insurance policy for our children," says Mister Phillips, one of five Westa Contra Costa Unified school board members.

But a few of the other board members think that money could be used instead to bolster educational programs.

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"I think all of us want more money in the classroom. I think all of us on the board want to make sure that education is fully funded," added Phillips.

The question is what is the district ready to give up. Most parents here want both.

"Of course, we want to give our students the best education that we can. We want to invest as much in the classroom but we also want to keep them safe," said Josh Broward, a Hercules parent.

The mayor of Hercules says her city can't afford to pay for these two SROs out of the general fund budget.

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"Our police force is already stretched. We don't even have one officer per 1,000 people and we have 25,000 people, expressed Mayor Chris Kelley.

Besides Hercules, four other cities within the school district could also be affected. They are San Pablo, Richmond, El Cerrito and Pinole. The staff within the district is studying the pros and cons of keeping their SROs.

The staff, including the superintendent, will make a recommendation to the board sometime next month. A vote is expected shortly after.

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