Because of a limited budget, officials with Dolores Schools plan to do away with a school resource officer for the 2014-15 school year.
The school pays $19,000 per year to have a deputy on campus, but that money will be redirected to instructional services, said business manager Karen Andrews.
"The officer did an excellent job; however, money remains tight, and the superintendent and principals felt a para-professional for reading instruction in the secondary schools is needed more."
Undersheriff Lynda Carter praised officer Brad Ray for his security work at the school and his rapport with the students.
"He is the liaison between kids and law-enforcement," Carter said. "It gives them a positive experience with officers and a security presence at the school."
In a June 12 email to Sheriff Dennis Spruell, Superintendent Scott Cooper wrote that budget cuts required the school to "make tough decisions. We appreciate your efforts but need the funding for reading paraprofessionals and intervention."
The school has been suffering from budget cuts over the past five years, a fact Cooper reported in a recent report to the Colorado legislature.
Since the 2009-10 school year, the district's budget has shrunk by $3.1 million. Last year, the school cut the budget by $961,344, and it's projected that 2014-15 year budget will be reduced by $912,207.
He urged refunding of K-12 education, noting that the Colorado economy has recovered and the state has a $1 billion surplus.
"The cuts imposed on K-12 over the past four years, combined with the costs of implementing five years of unfunded reforms have created a state of anorexia in education," Cooper wrote. "This cannot go on. Our children deserve better."
Efforts to renegotiate for a reduced rate were unsuccessful. Carter said the decision to drop the school resource officer was unfortunate, but is a sign of the times of tight budgets.
"We have a presence in Dolores still, and will of course respond to emergencies at the school," she said. "The change is that an officer won't be assigned to be at the school any more.