Montgomery County school budget proposal includes increase in security personnel

As Montgomery County Public Schools in Maryland prepares to finalize the superintendent’s proposed budget, it’s getting good reviews for some aspects of the plan, especially those relating to increases in school security.

The proposed budget includes new positions for security personnel at elementary schools and expanded positions in middle and high schools.

The budget includes new positions in the elementary school rover program, a group of six security team members who are ready to respond to a need at any of the county’s elementary schools.

Even though there are only six rovers and over 130 elementary schools, the school system’s Chief Operating Officer Dr. Andrew Zuckerman said these rovers will be able to deploy rapidly, wherever they are needed.

“There could be conflict; there could be an issue that requires support. It would not be a daily occurrence,” said Zuckerman, who envisions elementary school rovers to have different zones around the county but could be pulled in to address specific situations, as needed.

Response to the proposal by those who are currently doing the job was very positive.

“We would like to share our appreciation for increased funding for security positions in our middle and high schools. Unfortunately, violence in schools and society has increased and security for elementary schools should no longer be considered optional. It is a necessity.” Anne Dardarian, president of the Montgomery County Association of Administrators and Principals, said.

Since elementary schools do not have security personnel, administrators have had to serve in this capacity with little to no training or expertise; and the addition of these rover positions is a “welcomed initiative,” Dardarian said.

Community members asked board members to consider arts education, more school counselors and psychologists, more buses and higher-quality toilet paper, as they finalize the budget.

There will be a second public hearing Wednesday, Jan. 15 at 6 p.m. at the Carver Educational Services Center Auditorium in Rockville.

The school board is expected to finalize the budget at the meeting on Feb. 10. The board will then send it to the county council.

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