The City Council and the Madison School Board voted to sign a contract approving the continued use of educational resource officers (EROs) in the city’s four high schools on Tuesday.
The three-year contract will run between September 2016 and June 2019, officials said. The contract allows either the school district or the city to cancel the deal on Aug. 25, 2018.
“Both the city and school district value our partnership around safe and thriving school environments, and we are pleased that both approved a contract for Educational Resource officers tonight,” officials said in a joint statement issued by the School Board and the City Council following Tuesday’s meetings. “We agree that EROs need to align with the work of schools to teach positive behaviors, make use of restorative practices and disrupt the disparities that exist. While we have made strides aligning our practices to restorative practices in recent years and the number of arrests and citations have come down, disparities remain and more work must be done.
Board President James Howard, Board Vice President Mary Burke, Superintendent Jennifer Cheatham, Mayor Paul Soglin, Council President Mike Verveer, Council President Pro Tem Marsha Rummel and City Education Chair Matt Phair, all part of the joint statement, continued: “That is why along with this contract, in the near future, we will also engage in a collaborative process to strengthen the way EROs work in schools. We are all committed to working through that process to make positive changes to our partnership and to implement them throughout the life of the contract.
“We would like to thank the teams that worked to negotiate this agreement and our school staff, who have continued to focus on our students while we’ve had this discussion,” they added. “We are looking forward to continuing to work in partnership to ensure the best outcomes for students.”