ROUND ROCK, Texas (KXAN) — The Round Rock Independent School District may test just how serious Williamson County really is about removing its school resource officers.
During a safety and security workshop on Thursday, the board of trustees seemed to agree that they should draft another memorandum of understanding to keep Williamson County deputies acting as security on the district’s campuses.
Trustee Amber Feller accepted the task of working with district staff members to draw up this potential new agreement before the board’s next meeting on Oct. 17.
“All we care about is the safety of our kids, and just getting a clear message with the entities we want to work with has been really frustrating,” Feller said.
Other trustees expressed support for the idea of extending an agreement with Williamson County after they said they heard feedback from the community.
“The vast majority would prefer us to try to salvage the relationship we have with our current law enforcement partners before we go down the avenue of creating our own ISD police department,” trustee Cory Vessa said.
This effort, though, may all be in vain.
The Williamson County commissioners agreed at their meeting on Sept. 24 to provide deputies as school resources officers to Round Rock ISD until June 2021. Before that vote, though, County Judge Bill Gravell made it clear the county is not interested in extending that commitment beyond that point.
He directed his comments to the school board when he said, “Your path and your future is your choice. Williamson County will not be a part of that beyond 2021.”
Gravell would not say Monday if the Commissioners Court would vote again on a new contract with the district, though he promised the county “would take a look at it.”
“I’m not going to tell you a vote’s going to happen because I don’t even know what they’re proposing, and the reality is they don’t even know what they’re proposing,” Gravell told KXAN. “What’s ironic to me is that contract was signed a day or two before their school board meeting, which extended it for two years. If it was that important, they probably should have addressed it much sooner than the night they did.”
Two trustees, Mason Moses and Nikki Gonzalez, expressed little hope about striking a deal with the county.
“We’re now playing politics by punting it back to them,” Gonzalez said at the board workshop. “We’re just playing ping pong, and I feel we are now playing politics with the safety of our kids — just keep going back and forth, back and forth, back and forth.”
To be clear, the trustees said Thursday they’re not giving up the idea of creating the district’s own police department. They’ll still consider that while pursuing another possible deal with Williamson County.
The board indicated they would like to give county commissioners 60 days to respond to whatever proposal they put forward.
This year, Round Rock ISD has nine deputies from Williamson County and 12 officers from the Round Rock Police Department serving as school resource officers. The district also has two officers from Austin Community College until December.