Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to report Dripping Springs ISD is using school marshals and resource officers.

KXAN (AUSTIN) – A new Texas law requiring an armed officer on every public school campus went into effect on Friday. But several districts in Central Texas – and across the rest of the state – won’t have an armed person at every school today.  

In recent months, school board trustees in Leander, Bastrop, Hays, and Dripping Springs have passed resolutions claiming a good cause exemption to the law over lack of funding and qualified applicants.

The bill requires school districts that claim an exemption to establish an alternative standard and plan. Dripping Springs ISD, for example, will be using School Resource Officers and laying in School Marshals for campuses where they are unable to hire an SRO to fulfill the legal requirement, according to school officials.

Some districts, like the Austin Independent School District, have not claimed an exemption, but won’t have an officer on every campus day one of the law going into effect.

Austin ISD voted on Thursday to hire more than 100 officers to comply with the law. Austin school board trustees have expressed concern about making sure the district puts incoming officers through their own training process – which takes an average of six months from the time they are hired.

According to AISD Interim Superintendent Matias Segura, the district currently has two school resource officers in every high school and one in every middle school. For the elementary schools, roving officers patrol campuses.

At least four school districts in Central Texas say they already have officers, school marshals, or school guardians stationed at each of its schools.

Eanes ISD, Florence ISD, and McDade ISD are using certified peace officers.

San Marcos ISD is using school resources officers and school marshals to comply with the law, according to officials. Every elementary school now has a school marshal on campus.

Florence ISD has an officer on every campus, but only because they placed a Florence Police Department patrol officer on one of its elementary school campuses.

“It is a struggle financially to make this happen as the state did not fully fund this mandate,” Florence ISD Superintendent Rick Kirkpatrick said.

Robb Elementary shooting sparks change

Lawmakers passed House Bill 3, which also requires districts to update the physical security of campuses, during the regular session following a mass shooting that killed 19 students and 2 teachers at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde.

The original version of the bill authored by Rep. Joe Moody, D-El Paso, proposed increasing the school safety allotment by $90 per student.  

But, after back and forth with the Senate, lawmakers approved a plan to increase the per-pupil safety funding by 28 cents, meaning under the new law districts would get $10 per student instead of $9.72

The plan also gave districts $15,000 per campus to spend on officers or any other safety enhancements. Some districts also received grants from the Texas Education Agency. 

In an August 2023 report, the House Select Committee on Educational Opportunity and Enrichment recommended the legislature appropriate additional funds for the implementation of the school safety legislation.

The Texas legislature is expected to come back for a special session focused on education in October, but it’s unclear if lawmakers will revisit HB 3.