Douglas County’s only School District and its more than 68,000 students will benefit from most of a $10 million commitment from the Board of Douglas County Commissioners to support school safety and mental health for students through the Board’s approval of a $6.8 million Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) with the District.
Specifically, the IGA awards $6 million for physical security improvements and $823,000 for student mental health resources, in support of the District’s strategic plan for its 91 neighborhood and charter schools.
The County’s Jan. 14 announcement follows an eight-month public process that began less than a week after the May 7, 2019 STEM School shooting, when the Commissioners adopted a resolution providing $13.3 million for school security and student mental health for County schools, including the $10 million in one-time money; the convening of two Committees who evaluated and shared funding recommendations; and then the the Aug. 7 announcement of the competitive grant opportunity for Douglas County neighborhood, charter and private schools’ access to the funds.
In their November 21, 2019 Report to the Community, the Commissioners named recipients of the funds. From November until January 2020 the County drafted and finalized the County/School District Intergovernmental Agreement, as well individual contracts with private and charter school grant applicants who, all combined, will receive approximately $7.7 million for physical school safety and $990,000 to support mental health for students. The remaining $1.3 million of the total $10 million was set aside by the Commissioners for innovation and emerging technology.
“Throughout this process, our community worked collaboratively, putting partisan politics aside to focus on the protection and well-being of the most vulnerable and precious assets in our communities – our children,” said Board Vice Chair Lora Thomas.
“I gained an excellent understanding of the many great things that are already in place when it comes to safety for our kids in our schools and I am pleased we were able to do just a little bit more to make things a little bit better.”
“As Commissioners, we are charged with ensuring the health, safety and welfare of our citizens,” said Commissioner Abe Laydon, “and it is extraordinary that sound, wise, conservative budgeting – that occurred long before I arrived on this Board – allowed us to direct these funds to support school safety and our communities.”
“We are most grateful for the phenomenal selfless enthusiasm of the many subject matter experts who gave their time to serve as members of the Supportive Mental Health for Students Funding Committee and the Physical School Safety & Protection Funding Committee,” said Board Chair and Commissioner Roger Partridge.