During a Dec. 5 public hearing, community members raised concerns about increased safety funding in the previous 2023 PPS. Security personnel received an increase of approximately $74,000, while safety and security received an increase of approximately $25,000. The security budget is now just over $4 million.
Despite the transitional nature of the budget, community members have spoken out against any increase in the security budget.
“PPS has a responsibility to make sure students receive the resources and support they need to receive a quality education,” said community member Joy Evans. “When PPS invests in ineffective and harmful policing practices in schools, while failing to fund expanded restorative justice and student support services, it speaks to the value of controlling and criminalizing black and brown youth instead of supporting them.”
That sentiment was echoed by community advocates on behalf of 412 Justice, a nonprofit dedicated to economic, environmental and educational justice.
“There is a need to defund resources that harm and criminalize our students and invest in restorative programs that are showing positive results,” said Advocate Paulette Foster.
“I understand that public school funding has taken many cuts and many hits over the years and continues to decline. So I understand very clearly that we have to be creative when creating budgets, said Angel Gober, also of 412 Justice. “We need to get rid of security staff and invest in full-time school climate coordinator positions, one for each school, dedicated to implementing restorative justice programs in the school district.”