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THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 15, 2007
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EDITORIAL

Council should fund school safety program

So what if the city's school facilities look a little shabby this summer because of uncut grass?

And what difference will it make if the school board postpones getting the 300 computers for its professional training center?

At least the schoolchildren will have another measure of protection when they are on campus.

Their safety, of course, is immeasurable, when keeping the grass neat and up-to-date teacher training are the alternatives.

Decatur City Schools Superintendent Sam Houston said this week that he plans to trim both programs to pay for the Student Resource Officer program, a fancy name for the security force.

That's because the city has stopped paying for the program, and the school board will have to pay most of the $215,000 cost.

Council members wanted the school board to absorb the cost from the $1.4 million increase in sales-tax revenue from the rebounding economy. Mr. Houston explained that state-mandated pay raises and other costs consumed those funds.

The two-man maintenance department eventually will cut all of the grass, the teachers will train on older computers and schools won't compromise on security. Yet knowing that Decatur is the only school system in the state that pays for most of its SRO program is an indication that the philosophy at City Hall today is to demand accountability as an excuse to say no.

How things change.

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