Parents express concern over Huntsville City Schools’ decision to cut 30 temp employees, including security guards

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Around 30 temporary Huntsville City Schools employees have been let go.   It came seemingly without warning.

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The 30 employees are temporary, and work for EPSCO, a company that provides employees to various businesses on a temporary basis.

“The district has utilized temporary employees from an employment service on an as-need basis,” said Keith Ward, spokesperson for Huntsville City Schools.

EPSCO provided the district with around 85 employees, filling various positions.  Eight of the 30 EPSCO employees let go this week were security personnel, Ward confirmed.  He said the school system hired a temporary service for these positions so schools could be more flexible if staffing needs changed.

Parents expressed concern that students and staff had become familiar with the security guards, and trusted them.  They felt safer knowing that person was nearby.

Ward says parents shouldn’t worry about their child’s safety.  Every school that had a security person will still have one, so there’s no loss in coverage, however, the actual person would be different.  Security guards will be shifted from schools or offices with unneeded resources.

Were these changes brought about by budget cuts? Ward said no.  It’s quite the contrary.

“If you compare the budget we had for security in 2012 with the budget we’re currently in for this fiscal year it’s increased by 26 percent.  So there hasn’t been any cut.  There’s been increases actually in security.  But everything isn’t in a head count.  It’s in things involving other resources.”

Ward says these additional resources include magnetic doors, additional security cameras, school resource officers and updated two-way radios, giving security personnel a direct line of communication to Huntsville Police.

Ward says if at any time they do have an increased need for security personnel, they could rehire them.