Santa Rosa Wants Its School Resource Officers Back. Mayor Rogers Says the Funds Aren’t There.

Students, parents and staff concerned about safety at Santa Rosa City Schools have been pleading for the return of campus police. But a school resource officer (SRO) pilot program that was slated for next year will be put on hold because of budget challenges.

Santa Rosa Mayor Natalie Rogers made the announcement Tuesday during a city council meeting. The city and school district have been working together to address school safety issues ever since the fatal stabbing of a 16-year-old on the Montgomery High School campus last year.

An ad hoc committee made up of city council members and school board trustees came up with a plan to re-establish a pilot SRO program. However, “during the ad hoc meetings, school representatives acknowledged there are not sufficient funds for them to support such a program, and the rolling out of a program,” said Mayor Rogers in a quote from the Press Democrat.

Neither the city nor the district have room in their budgets for an SRO program. With that said, “the city is willing to partner with the school district in looking at alternative ways for funding,” Rogers said.

Frustrated community members are tired of excuses. Last month, Santa Rosa City Schools Trustee Omar Medina  –  who opposes SROs on campus – was served with a notice of intent to recall.

Santa Rosa City Schools had an SRO program until 2020 when the district ended its 25-year relationship with the Santa Rosa Police Department. The school board had been swayed by concerns over racial bias in policing following the death of George Floyd and the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement. What followed was a steady stream of violence at Santa Rosa schools – fights, stabbings, school shooting threats, and more. The problem became so extreme that a group of volunteer supervisors at Slater Middle School refused to come to work.

Many other school districts abandoned their SRO programs in 2020, only to reverse course amid safety concerns. These include Pomona Unified, Pajaro Valley Unified, and the Fresno Unified School District. 


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Thursday, March 28, 2024 - 09:07

School construction bonds faced some headwinds during the March 5 primary, with a passage rate of around 60% compared with the 73% seen in typical past primaries.