TWIN FALLS ID July 11 2018 — The Twin Falls School District will hire 15 unarmed school security paraprofessionals for next school year.
School trustees voted unanimously Monday night to endorse the proposal. It will cost $375,000, the equivalent of about $25,000 per employee, including salary and benefits.
The 2017-18 school year was the deadliest at school campuses in the United States for gun-related incidents, Twin Falls School District Superintendent Brady Dickinson told trustees.
“The recent trend and heightened awareness necessitates schools take proactive measures,” he said.
Every middle and high school in the Twin Falls district already has a school resource officer, contracted through the Twin Falls Police Department.
Each school will have one school security paraprofessional, with the exception of Vera C. O’Leary Middle School and nearby Bridge Academy, which will share one employee.
School security paraprofessionals will be another adult in buildings looking for security issues, identifying students who are having a difficult time and providing an extra set of eyes, Dickinson said.
To cover the expenses, about $77,000 will come from the Safe and Drug-Free Schools program, money previously used to send employees to a safety conference, and $66,000 is available in new money from federal Title IV funds.
The rest of the cost will be covered by cutting 5 percent from all supply budgets across the school district. For a $5,000 budget, for example, it would be a $250 reduction.
“We’re willing to do it because we feel it’s that important of an issue,” Dickinson said about school security.
The plan is utilizing one-time money, Dickinson said, noting sustaining those job positions over many years could be difficult.