School Resource Officers.
Public schools may have safety and security staff consisting of employees or contractors who are assigned to provide safety or security services for the school. Safety and security staff have several classifications of positions, including school resource officer (SRO) and school security officer, and may be commissioned or non-commissioned personnel.
As defined in statute, an SRO is a commissioned law enforcement officer in Washington who has sworn authority to make arrests and is: deployed in community-oriented policing; and assigned by the employing law enforcement office to work in schools to build positive relationships with students and address crime and disorder problems, gangs, and drug activities affecting or occurring in or around K-12 schools. The definition further specifies that the SROs should focus on keeping students out of the criminal justice system when possible, and should not be used to attempt to impose criminal sanctions in matters that are more appropriately handled within the education system.
Instructional Program of Basic Education.
The state's program of basic education is defined in statute as that which is necessary to provide students with the opportunity to develop the knowledge and skills necessary to meet state-established high school graduation requirements. Those requirements are intended to allow students to have the opportunity to graduate with a meaningful diploma that prepares them for postsecondary education, gainful employment, and citizenship. The minimum components of the instructional program of basic education includes education components, transportation components, and the statewide salary allocations necessary to hire and retain qualified staff for the state's statutory program of basic education.
Prototypical Funding Formula.
State funding allocations to school districts in support of the state's instructional program of basic education are provided according to a funding distribution formula established in statute that includes three levels of prototypical schools (high school, middle school, and elementary school) with defined numbers of students. The allocations districts receive, which are provided through the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, are adjusted from the school prototypes and based on the actual number of annual average full-time equivalent students in each grade level at each of the district's schools. With some exceptions, the distribution formula is for allocation purposes only, meaning school districts have significant discretion over how the received moneys are used.
The prototypical funding formula includes separate allocations (for each of the three school levels) for different classifications of staff in the K-12 system, including classified staff that provide student and staff safety.
The Superintendent of Public Instruction must allocate additional state funding to school districts for one SRO on each school campus, a term defined to mean a school facility that is used primarily for in-person instruction of students in any grade level from kindergarten through grade 12.
For purposes of the allocation requirement, "school resource officer" is defined as a commissioned law enforcement officer who provides security and law enforcement services at one or more schools under the direction of a school administrator. Additionally, "school security officer" is defined as a person other than a commissioned law enforcement officer who provides security services at one or more public schools under the direction of a school administrator.
The allocation for an SRO's annual salary must be $76,532, adjusted for inflation and the applicable classified regionalization factor of the school district. Allocated amounts may be used only to support staffing for SROs or school security officers on school campuses, and the required allocations are identified as necessary to support school districts in offering the state's minimum instructional program of basic education.
The requirement to allocate additional state funding to school districts for one SRO on each school campus also applies to allocations for charter public schools and state-tribal education compact schools.