California School District Examines Security Detail

Plan for outsourcing security personnel hits snags with local union, budget costs

Union members argue that the district whittled supervisors and police to dangerously low levels during budget crises, guaranteeing their inadequacy.

For instance, the school board eliminated 27 site and student supervisor positions over the past year, according to a Local 1 document. The district budgeted for 63 site and student supervisors districtwide in 2003-04, and 36 this school year, the document says.

The district's 12 officers must cover 71 sites across 110 square miles in six cities.

"They set us up to fail," Meriwether said.

The union showed its own plan to the school board late last week. It would double the number of people that the sheriff's office is proposing, at approximately the same cost, he said.

The union's plan also calls for oversight committees with students, teachers and union members.

"Not to take anything away from the Sheriff's Office," Brown said. "What they do they do well. But they're not in the business of education."

Daly said providing security isn't about education.

"Let people in the law enforcement business handle the law enforcement business," Daly said. "It just makes sense."

The board will discuss the plan at a safety forum April 27. The Board of Supervisors also needs to approve the contract.