Breaking News
More () »

DMPS set to heavily increase security budget for 2024 fiscal year

The district's interim superintendent Matthew Smith shared why the proposal of the 2024 fiscal year's security budget is a heavy one.

DES MOINES, Iowa — From online security attacks to shootings, Des Moines Public Schools have been challenged as far as ensuring the safety of their students.

Back in February, DMPS held a special school board meeting to balance their 2024 fiscal year budget.

"It's hard to really place an appropriate price tag when it comes to folks feeling safe and secure," said interim Superintendent Matthew Smith.

Over the years, the district has invested millions of dollars in the security and safety of students. However, as time progresses, Smith sees how much more could be done. 

"We continue to analyze our safety structures, our models, our practices, and we refine those and we try to improve upon those every year," Smith said. "So, this year is no different. We continue to do that."

The funds won't just go toward securing buildings and classrooms. This year's cyberattack proved the need for heavy investments in cybersecurity moving forward. 

"It's an area that we unfortunately had to learn the hard way this school year," Smith said. "And we are taking steps to secure our cyber environment moving forward. And we are working closely with our state partners, and some of our local consultants to make sure that we get that done." 

While the district funnels more money into security, it plans to make reductions in other places: DMPS plans to reduce teaching staff by 2%, support staff by 5% and central office staff by 5%. 

Smith attributes these reductions to enrollment data. 

"Over the last three years, we've seen a loss of enrollment into public schools," Smith said. "And so that's what that staffing, budget cuts are almost directly attributable to, as it relates to just recruitment and retention. We know that we want to have safe and secure schools and communities."

Smith says the district plans to continue conversations with the community before the proposal comes to a vote on April 4. 

Local 5 reached out to the Des Moines Education Association on DMPS's investment into safety and security, as well as other components of the proposal. They say they are holding comments to see how some of these issues pan out.

We also reached out to the Iowa School Board Association and have yet to receive a response.

Before You Leave, Check This Out