How New School Safety Mandates Impact Midway ISD

During the June school board meeting, Assistant Superintendent for Administrative Services Dr. Aaron Peña presented the implications of House Bill 3 which was passed by the 88th Texas Legislature in May. The bill, aimed at enhancing school safety, introduces several requirements that directly impact Midway ISD.

One of the notable requirements is that all employees regularly interacting with students, including teachers and office staff, must undergo evidence-based Mental Health Training. While the district already has key personnel trained in Youth Mental Health First Aid, expansion plans are already underway.

The most significant challenge for the district is the mandate for every campus to have at least one armed security officer present during regular school hours. This requirement necessitates additional funding and personnel. 

Currently, Midway ISD has two school resource officers (SROs) at the high school, one at each middle school, and two serving the elementary campuses on the Hewitt and Woodway sides. To meet the new requirements, an estimated five additional SROs are needed, amounting to approximately $416,665. Even with state funding contributions, the district will still require around $332,000 per year to fund this mandate.

While the bill provides some state funding—an additional $15,000 per campus and a 28-cent increase in the annual school safety allotment—it falls short of covering the costs associated with the new requirements.

Due to a shortage of police officers, similar to the ongoing teacher shortage, there is the potential to face challenges in finding qualified personnel. If funding is secured but personnel is unavailable, an alternative plan may be implemented such as utilizing school marshals or school guardians who have undergone specific training.

Looking ahead, the district is actively engaging with law enforcement partners to explore the capacity for contracting with SROs and seeking clarity from the state on the detailed requirements and training programs part of the increased school safety measures mandated by House Bill 3.

Jun 21, 2023