Douglas County commissioners vote to allocate $13 million toward school security, mental health

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DOUGLAS COUNTY, Colo. — Douglas County commissioners voted Tuesday to allocate $10 million in one-time funding toward improving school security and mental health at the Douglas County School District.

Commissioners also unanimously voted to approve $3 million annually for school resource officers, but the amount must be matched by the school district.

The votes come three weeks after one student was killed and another eight were injured in a shooting at STEM School Highlands Ranch.

DCSD’s president and superintendent have expressed concern over finding funding for the $3 million it would be required to match for the officers. However, if the district is able to do so, the funding would allow for 31 additional school resource officers next school year.

“It is virtually impossible when our plans for schools’ budget expenditures have already been committed,” said Wendy Vogel, the vice president of the Douglas County School Board.

School district officials also expressed frustration that commissioners acted on their own instead of working with school district on best programs and funding methods.

“Our simple request is to work with us as opposed to forging a separate path that may not be effective or beneficial,” Vogel said.

In response to criticism from school district leaders, Douglas County Commissioner Roger Partridge publicly said he was offended and “don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.”

Amid the showdown between elected leaders, community members offered possible solutions during Tuesday’s meeting. Much was discussed, from community members both for and against arming teachers, to considering medal detectors and focusing more on children’s emotional well-being.

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