DeKalb school district approves plan for new security manager with eye to school safety

DeKalb District 428 approves updated contract with city for police resource officers

DeKALB – The DeKalb District 428 School Board made multiple decisions this week related to school safety, including adding a security manager to the payroll and updating its contract for school resource officers.

The board voted to create a position in the district’s budget with the sole focus of safety consolidation and discussed the need for School Resource Officers in district buildings. The decisions come behind a national backdrop of stronger school safety in the wake of the school shooting on May 24 in Uvalde, Texas. Currently, Congress is considering gun reform legislation along with more funding to harden schools from mass-casualty attacks.

The board voted 3-2 to approve the approval of a “safety-security manager” position. The person hired would serve “as the leader of the district in implementing best practices, problem-solving and facilitating planning related to school safety within all district facilities,” according to a job description submitted to the board. The approved salary range for the position is $75,000-$90,000 depending on the candidate’s qualifications.

The decision to create the safety-security manager position stems from a November approved safety and security audit. The audit results are currently being reviewed by district administrators, but have not yet been released to the public. Under the current administration setup, security and safety responsibilities are divided up over multiple administrative positions, according to documents submitted to the board.

District officials voiced some concern related to the full-time position Security Manager position on district budgets. The additional position places the district’s Full Time Equivalent at 26% for fiscal 2026-27, said Cynthia Carpenter, district director of business and finance.

Board member Sarah Moses said she feels the district’s high FTE could impact district plans in the future to build new district facilities in the future.

“I’m uncomfortable with the FTE that we’re hiring,” Moses said. “Our major goal for facilities was to build or to reduce classroom size. I think we really need to be smart and prioritizing our spending now and what [CUSD 428] is spending.”

On top of approving the safety manager position, the board approved the contract for two additional School Resource Officers. The board approved the contract 4-1 with Moses being the lone no vote. Moses said she’s opposed to a larger police presence in DeKalb schools and feels this could affect people of color in the district more than it will build trust.

The contract is an intergovernmental agreement between DeKalb CUSD 428 and the DeKalb City Council. Board President Samantha McDavid said the vote was needed, so the city could conduct its vote at its upcoming meeting. The final intergovernmental agreement has not been made available to the public. The contract now heads to city hall where it could be voted on as early as June 27 during the City Councils’ regularly scheduled meeting at 6 p.m.

Currently, the district has three SRO’s one that is stationed full-time at DeKalb High School, one SRO split between the district’s two middle schools and a third that splits time among the eight elementary schools in the district.

Last school year, SROs responded to 418 calls for service requests at DeKalb High School, according to district documents. Those calls ranged from fighting, gun threats, drug possession or “general intimidation,” documents show.

The board is scheduled to meet again on July 5 at 7 p.m. for its regularly scheduled biweekly meeting.

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