School Shooting Colorado

In this May 8, 2019 file photo bouquets of flowers sit on the sign outside the STEM School Highlands Ranch in Highlands Ranch, Colo. Security procedures at the STEM School Highlands Ranch are under scrutiny amid talks about its charter agreement with a Colorado school district. The contract expires Saturday, June 29.

At its Jan. 14 meeting, the Board of Douglas County Commissioners approved a funding agreement for $6.8 million with the county’s school district. The money will largely go toward physical security improvements to the district’s 91 public, 15 independent charter and eight private schools.

“I gained an excellent understanding of the many great things that are already in place when it comes to safety for our kids in our schools and I am pleased we were able to do just a little bit more to make things a little bit better,” board Vice Chair Lora Thomas said.

The county, citing “confidential budget details,” left blank a page in the agreement that would have described the purpose of $6 million in school security grants.

For the remaining $823,182 destined for a “mental health project,” the county allocated $126,000 to complete a “climate and culture survey,” as well as nearly $241,000 for a social-emotional learning curriculum.

More than $252,000 will go toward mental health training, with the remaining $204,000 for overtime pay to teachers who attend trainings. The school district is required to report the ultimate effects of the grant and disclose whether they were able to leverage additional funds.

After the May 7, 2019, murder of student Kendrick Castillo at the STEM School Highlands Ranch, county commissioners pledged $13.3 million for school security and mental health projects in the district. Three million dollars in ongoing funding will support 15 additional school resource officers.

The remaining $1.3 million the commissioners set aside for “innovation/emerging technology.”

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