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The Voice of the

Commonwealth's Counties

School Resource Officer Unfunded Mandate Bill Defeated

On February 24, legislation that would have required each local school board to employ at least one school resource officer or one school security officer at each public elementary and secondary school was recommended to be laid on the table by the Senate Education and Health Committee’s Public Education Subcommittee by a vote of 3-2. VACo testified in opposition to the bill.

HB 873 (Greenhalgh), as originally drafted, was identical to SB 415 (DeSteph). As previously reported, though not opposed to the policy intent of these bills, VACo voiced concerns over these proposals based on the potential local fiscal impact. According to the Commission on Local Government’s local fiscal impact statement, most localities reported a large negative fiscal impact equivalent to the cost of hiring and training the additional full-time employee (FTE) needed to meet the staffing ratios. The bills would represent a recurring cost increase to these localities. Additionally, localities noted that the bills do not indicate if the staffing requirements would extend to all alternative and program sites which serve students; as such, some estimates include the costs of staffing those sites while others do not. Including these sites in the bill’s requirements would increase the fiscal impact on affected localities. For one locality, the estimated fiscal impact could range as high as $19 million.

VACo thanks its members for contacting legislators with their concerns over the fiscal impact of this legislation.

VACo Contact: Jeremy R. Bennett

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