Tuscaloosa Police officers contracted by the Tuscaloosa City Schools will see their pay increase by a massive $14 per hour, the system's governing board decided this week.

According to the Core Notes newsletter from TCS, the board unanimously voted to increase the hourly rate for SROs from $36 per hour to $50 per hour after. The board said the last time TPD officers working for the school system got a raise was in 2018.

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According to the newsletter, Superintendent Mike Daria said many of the school resource officers are senior-level officers from TPD who have devoted years of service to the partnership with city schools.

Eric Wilson, board chair for TCS board of education, said, "this is well warranted and we are thankful for everything that they do."

Not everyone is so excited about the increase in pay, though. Ashley Perczak, an employee who works at the nutrition, maintenance and facilities level in TCS reached out to the Thread and said other TCS employees, like her, make significantly less than what the officers will now earn. She said she thinks the decision is unfair to those who assist with students' daily wellbeing.

"I am very angry that a school district would so blatantly prioritize contracted police over its own staff and I believe the safety of schools lies in well cared-for children, which is accomplished largely through the people teaching, feeding, and cleaning for them," Perczak said. "When our value is diminished, young people are less safe."

Perczak said support staff in the school system make around $14 an hour, and that teachers will also earn significantly less than the police officers contracted to protect the schools.

"We are the solution to safety and community, officers are a Band-Aid and will never address the root of where problems come from," she said.

The Thread has reached out to representatives for the school system and police department for more information on this matter, so stay connected with us for updates as they are made available.

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