Editor’s note: The homepage headline to this story has been updated to say Georgetown ISD to seek HB3 exception.

GEORGETOWN, Texas (KXAN) – The Georgetown ISD Board of Trustees voted Monday night to seek a “good cause exception” to a new law requiring the presence of an armed, “qualified” security officer on each school campus during regular school hours.

District leaders cited a lack of “available qualified personnel and a lack of available revenue” as reasons for the request.

KXAN spoke with several districts earlier in August that said they were struggling to come up with the money and personnel to comply with the new law by the time it goes into effect Sept. 1.

According to the resolution adopted Monday night, the Georgetown Police department provides Georgetown ISD with seven school resource officers (SROs).

Those are commissioned peace officers including an SRO stationed at six of the district’s secondary school campuses and a supervising sergeant of the SRO Unit.

The resolution also said the SROs also serve as needed in other areas. They serve at other campuses as mutually agreed upon between the Georgetown Police Chief and Georgetown ISD Superintendent, according to the resolution.

The resolution said the police department already had “open peace officer positions that it has been unable to fill due to the lack of qualified applicants” even before the legislature passed the new law.

The district said it expects to run a deficit of $5.8 million for the 2023-24 school year without the cost of the additional 12 SROs at each district campus. Those additional officers, plus a sergeant and lieutenant, would cost the district an estimated $2.99 million, it said.

The board said it would develop an alternative standard but did not indicate what that standard would be.

The law allows for school boards to claim a “good cause exception” if the district can’t find the funding or personnel to comply with the law, but the district has to come up with an alternative plan. 

The law doesn’t require districts to submit the claim to the Texas Education Agency, but if requested by TEA — the claim has to be made available. 

Districts could also face state intervention for non-compliance, according to the law. 

The Texas legislature will come back for a special session focused on education in October, but priorities haven’t been announced and it’s unclear if lawmakers will revisit the school safety legislation.