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Douglas County Commissioners announce school funding decisions

Article and photo submitted by Douglas County

Photo of County Commissoners School Safety Report

Following a six-month public process, including collaboration with the Douglas County School District (DCSD), charter and private school leadership, and experts in school security and behavioral health, the Board of Douglas County Commissioners has announced the distribution of $10 million in one-time funds that were set aside following the May 7, 2019 STEM School Highlands Ranch shooting.

Approximately $7.7 million will be awarded to DCSD neighborhood, charter and private schools for physical school safety, such as communications technology, training, access control and enhanced building security. Another $1.3 million will be set aside for innovation and emerging technology.

An additional $990,000 will support mental health for students, including requests from schools for programs and training such as school climate and culture assessments; social emotional learning; suicide prevention and intervention programming; mental health support/intervention that builds on existing programming and mental health first aid and related training for staff, parents and students.

Regarding the newly-created Youth Community Response Team that will respond directly to a school’s request for specialized mental health support, Commissioner Thomas said, “Douglas County is committing to ongoing funding of $331,000 annually so that a dedicated team will be available to collaborate with the child, the parents and the school to provide ongoing care for children in need.”

An additional annual $3 million for school resource officer (SRO) positions will allow Douglas County to commit to 26 SROs in the upcoming 2020-2021 school year. This is an increase from 11 in the current year.

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