Student record

– R-II prioritizes student safety | School

Student safety was at the center of discussions as the Seymour R-II Board of Education held its final meeting of the 2021-22 fiscal year on Thursday, June 30, before finally approving a budget for the 2022-23 fiscal year. In progress.

The Seymour R-II School District’s projected revenue for the new fiscal year is a record $16,759,687, Superintendent Steve Richards told the school board, largely due to two construction projects — a new elementary and administrative building, as well as a new gymnasium – which will continue throughout the 2022-23 school year.

“Minus one-time government money from ESSR II and ESSR III funding, we would be looking at a budget in the range of $9-9.5 million,” Richards noted.

“We have been very fortunate with the approval we have received for this federal money, and although we will have a lot of construction going on on the school campus throughout this school year, the Seymour R -He will benefit greatly in the long term because of the new buildings we will gain.

Among the increased spending for the new fiscal and school year is student safety, an issue that again came into the national spotlight earlier this year after the student shooting tragedy in Uvalde, Texas. .

Over the past few months, the school board has expressed to Richards its desire for the district to provide additional student safety and security measures for the 2022-23 school year.

Those desires came to fruition on June 30 when the board took action in two ways.

First, the school board voted unanimously 7 to 0 to add a second school resource officer for the next school year, which begins in August.

To fill this position, the school will contract with the City of Seymour for the service, as is currently the case with the school’s only resource officer.

Second, the board also voted 7-0 to approve armed staff members, effective next school year.

Staff members will be trained by Shield Solutions of West Plains, a company that provides similar services to more than 50 Missouri public school districts, including neighboring schools in Ava and Norwood.

“The training provided by Shield is grueling, intense and very professional,” said Richards. “When I was superintendent at Dora, we were part of the program and I have nothing but good things to say about it.

“Ten years ago this was not something any of us in the school sector had to think about, but in today’s world we need to consider all options to protect our students and our staff.”

No one at the school board objected to adding a second school resource officer or armed staff.

Richards said anonymity is key to the Shield program.

“Nobody will know who and how many (staff) are carrying guns,” he told the council.

“I don’t think any of us want to know or need to know,” added Kim Wilkins, chairman of the board. “All we want is for our children to be safe, and I think what we’re doing here tonight does that.”

Personnel who carry firearms must complete a 40-hour training course and then must undergo an additional eight-hour firearms training three times a year.

“Being a member of the Shield program isn’t easy,” Richards said. “But it shouldn’t be easy. It’s a huge responsibility.

The bar must be high. »

Richards told the school board that he has already identified staff members who will carry concealed firearms.

Each will receive a $2,000 annual allowance for additional liability, which will be paid for by Shield as part of the district’s $25,000 contract with the company.

“I feel good about it,” said board member Brad Leonard. “It’s a small price to pay to keep our children and staff safe in a world that is becoming more dangerous every day.”