The Campbell County School District Board of Trustees approved an agreement with the city of Gillette aimed at making schools in the city safer.
District administrators have been working for months on getting more school resource officers, or SROs, in the district's junior high and high schools in Gillette city limits.
The agreement that was approved Tuesday night says that the district will pay 70 percent of the cost associated with hiring two new SROs, meaning starting in the fall, there will be five SROs provided by the city spread across Sage Valley Junior High, Twin Spruce Junior High, Thunder Basin High School, Westwood High School and Campbell County High School.
Annually this will cost the district $184,708. The district will also pay close to $120,000 for two new vehicles and associated equipment.
The city will cover the remaining 30 percent of costs so the officers can remain employed while schools are on summer break.
Board Chair Anne Ochs said the current SROs are spread thin across the large district.
"That's a lot of area for officers to cover and provide security. And so we felt like this was the best option and we've had a really good response from the community," she said.
This comes as the school board is holding the final public hearing and vote on a proposed policy that would allow staff at the district's rural schools to carry a concealed gun. That public hearing and subsequent school board meeting and vote will be held on April 14 at 5:30 pm.
Ochs said these agreements, coupled with a proposed policy, allow the district to address the safety needs of all schools.
"We think this is the best plan moving forward, and we hope the community will support it when we vote on it," she said.
Superintendent Alex Ayers said the district is also working on a similar agreement with the county.
"The conversation has been very positive and supportive. I've visited with the sheriff, the undersheriff and the county's administrator. We're going to meet next week and walk through a draft MOU [memorandum of understanding], and we'll see what happens at the end of that discussion," he said.
The city council will vote on their side of the agreement in the coming weeks.
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