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Plano ISD Approved To Implement School Marshal Program

It will cost the district about $4.1 million
Photo: FPSecurity | Shutterstock

During a board meeting on Aug. 8, 2023, a resolution was passed for the implementation process for a school marshal program within the Plano Independent School District.

Currently, Plano ISD maintains school resource officers (SROs) at the secondary level, which includes grades 6 to 12. Additionally, elementary schools receive daily rotations of law enforcement personnel. However, the newly passed resolution permits the district to formulate and execute an alternative program for campuses that currently lack SROs.

This resolution is in response to the 88th Texas Legislature's endorsement of House Bill 3, which mandates that public school districts must furnish armed security personnel at each campus throughout standard school hours. This bill was officially enacted into law on June 14, 2023, and it will become effective starting from Sept. 1.

“As we work toward fully implementing and staffing the school marshal program, we want to assure you that we will continue to provide safety and security services in partnership with our municipalities and in accordance with existing shared agreements,” read a  Plano ISD statement. “Our district is fortunate to have a close working relationship with the police departments that protect and serve our 73 schools across five cities: Plano, Richardson, Murphy, Dallas and Allen.”  

As stipulated by HB 3, school districts have the option to invoke a justifiable exception if they are unable to meet the security officer mandates due to inadequate funding or a shortage of qualified personnel. For Plano ISD and local law enforcement agencies, the primary hurdle pertains to the timing of implementation in relation to the availability of police officers and the duration required to adequately train new officers for an expanded SRO program. 

The recruitment and training cycle for each new officer spans approximately 18 months. Meeting the demand for the estimated 50 SRO positions could span from two to four years. They project that the introduction of the marshal program will enable the district to adhere to the new legal requirements more promptly.

“Keeping our students safe is always our top priority in Plano ISD and we want to assure our community that we will implement these new requirements with fidelity,” said Superintendent Dr. Theresa Williams. 

HB 3 will allocate $15,000 per campus along with a modest increase of only 28 cents per average daily attendance in the safety allotment, resulting in an approximate $1.1 million increase for Plano ISD. The expenditure of recruiting and sustaining security officers will impose an additional cost of about $4.1 million on Plano ISD.

“As Plano ISD works to comply with HB3, the Plano Police Department will continue our community policing school security program which involves patrol officers conducting two security checks daily at each elementary school,” said Plano Police Chief Ed Drain. “We will also work closely with Plano ISD on ongoing training of their school marshals once the program is up and running.”

Plano ISD will post the school marshal positions on their website and interviews with candidates are expected to begin August 28. Once hired, candidates will be added to the School Marshal Training Course waitlist.