Abigail Becker joined The Capital Times in 2016, where she primarily covers city and county government. She previously worked for the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism and the Wisconsin State Journal.

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Madison's City Council voted to terminate a contract with the Madison Metropolitan School District to provide police officers in the city's four high schools.   

On a near unanimous vote, Madison’s City Council voted Tuesday to terminate a contract with the Madison Metropolitan School District to provide School Resource Officers for the city’s four high schools. 

This was the last step in a process to remove police officers from Madison schools. City Council members voted 19-1, with Ald. Paul Skidmore, District 9, in opposition. 

“This is going to change the dynamics of how security is provided, if it’s provided at the schools,” Skidmore said. “The officers who are there have served much more in a capacity as counselors and advocates and understanding the lay of the land and diffusing problems.”  

The four officers stationed in schools have been reassigned to patrol duties. Acting Chief Vic Wahl previously said in an emailed statement that he expects them to remain on patrol through the end of the year. 

On June 29, the Madison School Board voted to end its relationship with the MPD immediately by terminating its contract for four school resource officers. Under the contract, which was previously scheduled to run through the 2021-22 school year, MMSD would pay MPD more than $366,000 annually for the officers.   

[Like MMSD, districts around the country planning for fall following votes to end police in schools]

At the time, Assistant City Attorney Marci Paulsen said in an email that the district can vote to remove SROs from the schools, but without a corresponding city vote "MMSD would potentially be responsible for covering the costs of the SRO."

Absent the contract, MPD is expected to see a budget shortfall. 

The MPD’s 2020 operating budget includes $360,000 in revenue from MMSD for the officers stationed at the city’s four high schools. So far this year, the MPD has received $158,310, leaving a budget gap of $201,690 on that contract alone.     

Due to the budgetary effects of COVID-19 and costs associated with policing the protests over the past several weeks, the MPD will likely need additional funding to cover the gaps, according to the fiscal note on the City Council resolution to end the contract. 

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