AUSTIN, Texas - The Austin ISD police department budget is being cut by a little more than a million dollars, including eliminating 15 vacant positions.
Despite the cuts, high and middle schools will continue to have fully staffed Student Resource Officers and all campuses will continue to have daytime police patrols.
Students noted there have been differing opinions about having police on school campuses.
"I feel like there should be more police officers because there have been school fights happening, I feel like there haven't been enough police officers to get there on time to break up those school fights," said Maria Jose.
In addition to the 15 police positions being cut, there are nine currently filled staff support & administrative positions that will also be eliminated. Confirmation of the police reduction plan comes only days after the school shooting in Uvalde where 19 children and two teachers were killed.
Katie Stubbins who lives near Anderson High said the timing certainly looks bad.
"However, ultimately as long as response times are still good and reliable, and as long as the general student population feels safe, I understand the decision. I do worry about the timing though, especially when you have a repeat of, copycat people, ultimately it’s good the school year is ending," said Stubbins.
AISD will have a total of 76 sworn officers for the 2022-23 school year. Two currently filled safety positions outside the police department are also being eliminated: the threat assessment/crisis response coordinator and a project specialist. All the jobs being cut end June 30.
In a statement sent to FOX 7 district officials said: "Our teachers are trained in social-emotional learning, and our doors automatically lock. We do whatever it takes every day to keep our kids safe."
VIEW THE FULL AISD STAFF BUDGET REDUCTION BREAKDOWN BELOW:
The budget shortfall AISD is dealing with is not an isolated case. Other districts in Texas are also having to make financial adjustments.
With security now a top school issue along with teacher retention, political analyst Brian Smith with St. Edward’s University expects state lawmakers to weigh in during the next session.
"Republicans do want the school resource officers in the school. Maybe they're going to have to figure a way to pay for it. And that would be by reforming the way we fund the public schools here in Texas. So this is an opportunity maybe for both sides to get a little what they wanted, because if we are going to have these school resource officers, the local School Districts don't have the resources to bear the costs," said Smith.