Scott principal calls proposed change in SRO funding a ‘poor decision’


Scott High School Principal Caralyn Stewart voiced her displeasure over changes to an agreement that addresses how school resource officers are paid for.

Her remarks happened at the Taylor Mill city commission meeting last week.

Previously, the city and the Kenton County board of education split the cost of placing officers at Scott and Woodland Middle School, which share a campus in Taylor Mill.

Now the city is asking the school district to fund 74 percent of the cost after the next school year.

That increases the school’s contribution from $60,000 to $89,250.

“I have always been an avid supporter of you guys, and felt that it was very reciprocal,” Stewart said. “Until now.”

She said she is very concerned about the safety of students and staff if the school district cannot come up with funds to pay for the officers.

“I think it is really a poor decision not to continue to prioritize our children,” Stewart said. “I implore you to reconsider and support us fully.”

The Kentucky General Assembly adopted a piece of legislation earlier this year that goes into effect for the next school year requiring the presence of an office at each school. How those officers are funded is not spelled out in the legislation and is left up to the schools to figure out.

Locally, it has often been the case that cities share the cost with schools since the officers tend to be affiliated with city police departments.

Stewart said the intent of House Bill 63, which passed in February, was not to put the financial burden on schools.

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Mayor Daniel Bell said Frankfort is good at issuing unfunded mandates.

Bell said Taylor Mill’s situation is different than other areas, in that most of the students at Scott are from other cities like Covington, Edgewood, and Independence. The schools are located in Taylor Mill, though, and the police officers are from the city’s police department.

“It’s really a dollar issue,” Bell said. “Our officers are going to be there, regardless. We are funded for next year.”

Taylor Mill has provided half of the cost of the SROs since 2018, but the cost of the officer — payroll, benefits, uniform, and training from both state and federal agencies — is expensive, officials said, costing around $119,000 for both officers.

“The bill is actually irrelevant,” said City Administrator Brian Haney. “We were going to have to increase the price to help with our budget anyway, since it has not changed in 5 years.”

“We wanted the school board to come back with a counter offer,” Commissioner Dan Murray told Stewart.

The city is working with other cities and the school board to work out the money issue.

Kenton County Schools Chief Operating Officer Rob Haney is working with cities to come up with a solution.

Correction: A previous version of this story indicated that the schools previously contributed $30,000 in support of the school resource officers. The number is $60,000 and the article has been corrected. LINK nky regrets the error.