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Phoenix Union High School District to remove school resource officers

PHOENIX — The Phoenix Union High School District announced Tuesday that it will not re-sign its annual Intergovernmental Agreement with the city of Phoenix for school resource officer staffing.

The district will allocate the savings — $1.2 million — toward a community-driven initiative on school safety, according to a press release.

“The savings will be reinvested back into our people for the 2020-2021 school year,” Superintendent Dr. Chad Gestson said in the release.

“The majority of the funds will be used to train and further develop our school safety teams in preparation for the launch of the 2021-2022 school year. None of the funds will be allocated to positions this year in order to ensure that those funds are available in subsequent years.”

Schools will use off-duty officers within their own districts as needed to assist with law enforcement situations.

Last month, students participated in a protest outside of the Phoenix Union High School District office where they demanded the removal of resource officers from schools.

The district has scheduled participatory budgeting to begin in September when it will collect ideas from the community on how to allocate the funds. Participatory budgeting will include a $500,000 staff-driven process, $500,000 student-driven process and $200,000 parent-driven process.

After ideas are reviewed, participants will vote on final proposals that the district will begin implementing during the 2021-2022 academic year.

Approved proposals will be implemented for up to three years.

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