Education

Davenport schools get OK to add security

$1.1 million OK'd for year but future unclear

Art Tate

Davenport superintendent
Art Tate Davenport superintendent

DES MOINES — The Davenport school district can begin hiring more security personnel following the state School Budget Review Committee on Tuesday approving $1.13 million in spending authority for security.

The panel, a nonpartisan group that reviews school budgets and considers requests to modify budgetary limitations, voted 4-1 on the request, thought the approval came with reservations about how the district will fund the plan in future years.

Davenport Superintendent Art Tate asked for spending authority to hire additional security personnel, including a district-level security and outreach specialist, more school resource officers and additional unarmed campus security guards.

School board president Ralph Johanson attended the meeting via video conference and afterward praised Tate’s leadership and forethought.

“I think what’s next is that (Tate) and his team have a good, viable healthy plan that now they will implement,” Johanson said. “We’re going to figure out a way to make it sustainable.”

Review committee member Keith England cast the dissenting vote, saying after the meeting the district needs to “live within their dollar figure.”

“This emergency meeting is rather unique,” Tate said during his opening remarks Tuesday. “Everything I read, know, think and feel tells me that attacks against schools will continue.

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“As our application pointed out, the busy Iowa Legislature did not have time to pick up this important security issues near the end of the last session,” he said.

He added he is cognizant of the challenge of how to continue funding the added security.

He said options include possible legislative relief to provide flexibility for using reserves, local grants and “funding from our very generous community,” adjusting modified allowable growth fund, partnerships with the city, federal grants for school resource officers, finding other general-fund reductions and looking at school-district program funding flexibility opportunities in legislation.

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