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Caribou′s New Budget Does Not Fund School Resource Officer

Published: May. 27, 2022 at 7:45 PM EDT
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Caribou, Maine (WAGM) - In a recent school board meeting, RSU 39 in Caribou announced they would no longer be funding the school resource officer position. Newssource 8′s Corey Bouchard has more on the community’s reaction to this news.

Tim Doak - Superintendent -RSU 39 “We pretty much used up most of those funds with the push of COVID when it happened to us...It was the only way that we could fund the resource officer”

On May 25th ,RSU 39 unveiled their new budget.  As part of the new budget, it was shared that money for the school resource officer was not longer available because the position had been funded for the past two years with Federal Covid Grants and that money has dried up. This announcement came as a shock to many, including Jordyn Rossignol, a parent of two who attend the Caribou Community School. She says the safety of students should be the districts top priority.

Jordyn Rossignol - Owner - Miss Jordans Child Development Center " I do feel like we need a school resource officer, I understand that Officer St. Peter was only at caribou community school 50 percent of the time, he was shared between the two schools and as a parent, i dont think thats sufficient, I think we need a security officer or multiple honestly at both schools”

WAGM Reached out to Superintendent Tim Doak who initially provided the following statement " The RSU 39 school resource officer has not been in the regular school since two years ago.  We funded the position with ESSER funds and possible grants.Going forward if federal or state funds become available, RSU 39 will pursue.” Doak added that when the School board looked at the budget two months ago, they decided that funds would better be spent providing more mental health resources to the students, such as a full time social worker, and a full time assistant principal at the high school. He went on to say that the district reached an agreement with the Caribou Police Department to have patrol officers come around more regularly to the schools.  He adds every time they have needed to call Caribou PD, their response time has been under 2 minutes.

Rossignol says children deserve to be safe while receiving a well rounded education.  She doesn’t think the answer lies in budget cuts.

Jordyn " I think its not an issue of cutting something else to keep one position. I think when you add positions, take from the budget, add to the budget. people in the community dont want to see taxes raised, however you can’t have your cake and eat it too in this situation, if you want something that helps you sleep better at night, it might cost you a little more in taxes...I think it’s important to start attending school board meetings, attend city council meetings, we have notoriously low turnouts at these meetings and if you want changes, you got to be part of the solution.”

The RSU 39 budget will have a district wide referendum on Tuesday, June 14th where two referendum questions will be asked, the first being " Do you favor approving the Regional School Unit 39 budget for the upcoming school year that was adopted at the latest Regional School Unit budget meeting?” And the second question being “Do you wish to continue the budget validation referendum process in the Regional School Unit 39 for an additional three (3) years?” The vote will take place at the City and Town Polls within the district. Corey Bouchard, NewsSource 8

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