Caribou’s new budget does not fund the school resource officer

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Caribou, Maine (WAGM) – At a recent school board meeting, Caribou RSU 39 announced that it will no longer fund the School Resource Officer position. Newssource 8’s Corey Bouchard has more to say about the community’s reaction to this news.

Tim Doak – Superintendent -RSU 39 “We pretty much used up most of those funds with the push of COVID when it happened to us… It was the only way to fund the Resource Officer”

On May 25, RSU 39 unveiled its new budget. As part of the new budget, it was shared that the money for the School Resource Officer was no longer available as the position had been funded for the past two years with Federal Covid grants and that money has dried up . This announcement came as a shock to many, including Jordyn Rossignol, mother of two children who attend Caribou Community School. She says student safety should be the top priority for districts.

Jordyn Rossignol – Owner – Miss Jordans Child Development Center one parent I don’t think that’s enough I think we need a security guard or more honestly at both schools”

WAGM contacted Superintendent Tim Doak who initially provided the following statement “The RSU 39 School Resource Officer has not been in the regular school for two years. We have funded the position with ESSER funds and possible grants. In the future if federal or state funds become available, RSU 39 will pursue Doak added that when the school board reviewed the budget two months ago, it decided it would be best to spend the funds on providing more mental health resources to students, such as a full-time social worker and a full-time vice-principal at the high school.He went on to say that the district has reached an agreement with the Caribou Police Department to that patrollers visit schools more regularly. He adds that each time they needed to call Caribou PD, their response time was less than 2 minutes.

Rossignol says children deserve to be safe while receiving a full education. She doesn’t think the answer lies in budget cuts.

Jordyn “I think it’s not a matter of cutting something else to keep a position. I think when you add positions, take money out of budget, add into budget. People in the community don’t want to see taxes go up, but you can’t take your cake and eat it too in this situation, if you want something that helps you sleep better at night, it might cost you a little more in taxes… I think that it is important to start attending school council meetings, city council meetings, we notoriously have low attendance at these meetings and if you want change you need to be part of the solution.

The budget for RSU 39 will be the subject of a district-wide referendum on Tuesday, June 14 where two referendum questions will be asked, the first being “Do you support school unit budget approval? Regional School 39 for the upcoming school year that was adopted at the last Regional School Unit Budget Meeting?” And the second question being “Would you like to continue the budget validation referendum process in Regional Academic Unit 39 for an additional three (3) years?” Voting will take place at city and district town polls. Corey Bouchard, NewsSource 8

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