School safety concerns spur Carthage parents to protest

Local News

Parents in Carthage will protest because of concerns over tax dollars and students’ safety.

Organizers said they plan to hold a protest outside the entrance of the Carthage ISD Administration Building when school starts on Monday. Organizers said they disagree with the elimination of the district’s human resource officer.

The Superintendent, Dr. Glenn Hambrick, said the position was eliminated because six-million-dollars in state funding was cut from the budget so the board had to eliminate 32 positions. The majority of the positions were “at-will” positions. He said the administration’s policy gives him the authority to hire and fire “at-will” positions without approval from the school board. 

Dr. Hambrick said the district has 23-million-dollars in the budget currently and 25-percent of it came from the ASATR Program, which stands for Additional State Aid for Tax Reduction. He said they found out in May, money from ASATR would not be coming to school districts after legislators didn’t pass certain bills.

Parents said they disagree with letting the position of police chief go for safety reasons. They also question why pay raises were granted when cuts were made. 

“Every person we cut was valuable to the district or we wouldn’t have had them. But unless they are teaching a class or driving a bus, there are certain positions that are very beneficial to our district, but we just have to cut,” Dr. Hambrick said.

“There’s drugs and fights on campus and we need police department on our campus to protect our kids,” said Leo Graves, concerned grandparent.

“It’s not just property taxes but if you are buying something in this town or county, you’re taxes are going towards to this school so we want parents come out and show their concerns about these children,” said Felita Ewins, concerned grandparent.

Dr. Hambrick said staff pay raises, including a five-thousand-dollar one for himself, were approved in January before they found out about the cuts in May.

He said the five campuses have safety measures in place, including security cameras, electronic doors and a guard shack officer at the high school who checks people coming in and out. They also have the Guardian Program which allows certain trained personnel to be armed. They will rely on the city police department if an officer is needed on campus.

He also said the district still faces further cuts so the school board plans to ask citizens for a tax increase during Monday’s board meeting.

The parents’ protest will take place at 7 a.m. 

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