Board of Education passes contract for SROs in Madison High Schools, with option to drop one

MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) -- On Monday night, the Board of Education voted to pass a contract that allows school resource officers (SROs) in Madison high schools, and also allows the district to potentially remove one of those officers in the future.

The contract, which would have SROs assigned to four Madison high schools from August 2019 to June 2022, passed by a vote of four to three. The contract between the Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD) and the City of Madison says that MMSD can reduce the number of SROs assigned to MMSD from four SROs, one in each high school, to three SROs for the 2020-2021 school year.

According to the contract, "MMSD shall notify the CITY in writing before the removal is to occur. Specifically said notice shall be provided by September 15, 2019, to effectuate a reduction on June 15, 2020 or June 10, 2020 to effectuate a reduction on January 1, 2021."

The contract also says MMSD or the City can cancel the contract effective June 15, 2021, with written notice of termination no later than September 15, 2020.

Gloria Reyes, school board president, said this contract passing is a positive step.

"I feel like we really came to a really good compromise, and really piloting whether we can take SROs out of our schools," Reyes said. "I think the majority of the board felt that we couldn't take them out without a plan, and that's essentially what this opportunity is."

However, some people sitting in the audience were unhappy with the contract passing, and called out when the workshop session adjourned after the vote without time for public comment. "This is undemocratic and disgusting, shameful," one audience member called out after the meeting adjourned.

In a statement, Madison Police Chief Mike Koval expressed his views on the contract, and the option to remove an SRO, writing, "Deciding which high school will or will not get services seems problematic. Does this school deserve any less protection from various threats to safety (i.e., an active shooter) than the other three?"

The contract still needs to go to the city before it is implemented.