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Phoenix Union cuts ties with school resource officers

Posted at 11:48 AM, Jul 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-09 14:51:30-04

PHOENIX — The Phoenix Union High School District (PXU) has announced it will not renew its Intergovernmental Agreement with Phoenix Police for School Resource Officers for the 2020-2021 academic year.

Superintendent Dr. Chad Gestson said in a statement that Phoenix Union will instead use funds to launch the "largest school participatory budgeting program that our nation has ever seen."

Dr. Gestson said now is the time for PXU to revisit and rethink school safety, as the nation deals with two pandemics, racism and COVID-19.

The 2020-2021 school year will see even more campus closures and remote learning, resulting in a reduced need for day-to-day school safety measures, including the use of local law enforcement, said Dr. Gestson.

Phoenix Union will use off-duty officers, when needed, to assist with required law enforcement notifications, campus and community safety needs, and other mandatory reporting issues. Officers will be assigned to districts, not schools.

Dr. Gestson announced this week that a $1.2 million initiative will go toward training and developing school safety teams in preparation for the launch of the 2021-2022 school year.

None of the funds will be allocated to positions this year in order to ensure that those are available in subsequent years.

In September, three separate participatory budgeting processes will begin. In total, PXU will allocate $1.2 million to this initiative, $500,000 to a staff-driven process, $500,000 to a student-driven process, and $200,000 to a parent-driven process.