Richmond County School System includes safety measures in budget

Tuesday, May 14th 2024, 10:25 PM EDT

RICHMOND COUNTY, Ga. (WFXG) - In just eight days, the school year would conclude for students across the CSRA, but for the Richmond County School System (RCSS), the end of one academic year meant the beginning of preparations for the next.

The Richmond County Board of Education was deep in discussion about the budget for the upcoming fiscal year of 2025, a crucial period for shaping the educational landscape of the community.

The RCSS has a mission: to build a globally competitive school system, fostering education through teaching, learning, collaboration, and innovation. But to achieve this vision, ensuring safety is important.

Community members gathered at the Board of Education building, eager to learn more about the proposed budget for the 2025 fiscal year. The budget included plans to increase the pay for several positions within the school system, but more importantly, it outlined new safety measures for Richmond County Schools.

FOX54 spoke with Bobby Smith, the Chief Financial Officer for RCSS about the upcoming safety plans.

"The safety grant coming from the state is crucial," Smith emphasized. "We have not received specific details yet, so we're holding off on finalizing our recommendations until we have more information."

This grant, totaling nearly $2 million, promised to be a significant boon for RCSS. Smith outlined plans to allocate the funds towards bolstering security measures, including the addition of more School Resource Officers (SROs) and providing essential safety equipment.

"Our goal is to ensure our students are safe," Smith continued. "This grant will allow us to invest in police cars, safety partitions, and vaults for school vehicles, ensuring that our students and staff feel secure."

During a recent committee meeting, the Board took decisive action by approving a pay-to-go proposal. Smith explained, "This proposal will fund the partitions and vaults for school vehicles, essential components in our safety infrastructure."

The urgency for such measures was underscored by recent events, including a lock down at Laney High School and a school bus stop shooting.

The budget proposal has not been finalized yet, that decision will come in June.

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