After 6 years, Officer Kent Russell is working his final days at Loudon High School.
"City Council voted to pull the two resource officers from the schools," said Lynn Mills, Loudon City Manager.
Since 1998, the city of Loudon has paid $157,000 per year for the resource officers at Loudon High School and at Loudon Elementary and Fort Loudon Middle School. The county reimbursed the city about $30,000 per year, but property tax declines mean the city needs an additional $30,000 each year.
"At the city council meeting in July, the school board was given a deadline of last night to come up with the funding, or the city council would vote to pull the two school resource officers. And that's exactly what happened," said Mills.
Loudon County Director of Schools Jason Vance said the school board wanted to wait until September 1 to make a decision - that's when three new school board members will be sworn in. But now the decision has been made for them and it's frustrating to some:
"Drugs in school - I mean, it's all the way from elementary to high school. And just the presence of a police officer, you know, that authority figure will if not deter some of it, at least let them know to not bring it to school," said Josiah Gayhart, who is upset the officers are being pulled.
But Vance said safety is a top priority and said parents shouldn't worry, because he doesn't expect there to be a lapse in security at the schools.
He said he's hopeful he'll get at least one more sheriff's deputy to work as an SRO to help cover all of the schools. Until then, he said parents shouldn't be concerned.
"We'll see a seamless transition here. We'll have a school resource officer or some sort of safety officer in the schools between now and the time that they leave," said Vance.
When the new school board members are sworn in on September 1, they'll have a special call meeting on what to do.
The Loudon County Sheriff's Office said it doesn't have any deputies to spare right now. It said a fully-funded resource officer from the Sheriff's Office would cost about $70,000 a year.