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Fischer's Budget Shifts Police Officers Away From JCPS

Under Mayor Fischer's proposed budget, Jefferson County Public Schools could lose a majority of its school resource officers beginning next school year.

Fischer's proposed cuts to the city's general fund include hiring fewer new police recruits. Fischer's plan suggests the Louisville Metro Police Department would also redeploy 17 school resource officers and two sergeants currently serving at JCPS back to regular duty.

"JCPS is its own taxing district, just as the city is its own taxing district," Fischer said at a press conference Thursday. "Their budget is about three times the size of our budget."

Fischer will present his proposal to the Metro Council Thursday night.

JCPS employs 28 school resource officers in total. Of those not contracted through LMPD, eight are with Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department, two from the Jeffersontown Police Department and one from St. Matthews Police.

This announcement comes as the JCPS Board of Education has been discussing whether or not to form its own in-house security team for months. Supporters of that plan say it would give the district more oversight in training and supervising the officers in its schools.

"Having our own internal security team that is answerable to the administration of JCPS and also has highly specialize training to deal with trauma-informed care ... would be very beneficial," said board member Chris Brady, at the school board's Tuesday night meeting.

That night, JCPS officials released a 2019-2020 tentative budget that did not mention any new investment in a security team. Several board members, including Brady, noted that they would like to see the district move more quickly to employ its own security force, especially in light of an anticipated loss of LMPD officers due to the city's on-going budget concerns.

"I would have liked to have seen this about a year ago," Brady said. "There are situations that occur in our schools that our teachers are really not equipped to handle."

JCPS Superintendent Marty Pollio said having an in-house security team is considered best practice for a school district of JCPS's size, and that the district plans to move to that model.

"We're looking to move forward on it, I don't know how quickly we will be able to, but we're continuing to plan for that to happen in the near future," Pollio said.

The Board of Education is expected to approve its 2019-2020 working budget in May, and would have also considered renewing school resource officers' contracts this summer.

Liz Schlemmer is WFPL's Education and Learning Reporter.

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