A shooting at an Atlanta area middle school yesterday and the killing of an Alabama school bus driver and the kidnapping of a six year old off the bus has Florida school officials concerned the state is not doing enough to fund school safety. Florida Schools Boards had asked for up to two hundred million new dollars for safety, but the Governor is suggesting just ten and a half million more.
Florida currently spends 64 million dollars a year on safe school initiatives. In announcing his budget priorities, Rick Scott is asking for 10 point five million more. The increase is just five cents on the dollar of what Florida’s 67 school boards were seeking.
The school boards originally asked for 200 million dollars enough money to put an armed officer in every school.
“We’re going to be asking the Legislature for at least over a 100 million more. Our commitment is to put uniformed officer in every school and that’s going to cost in the range somewhere around 150-160 million dollars”, says Wayne Blanton, Florida School Boards Association.
They are currently surveying each district to find out what is in place and what’s needed.
“We’ve got to do a lot of things to our schools. We got to renovate some old schools so we have a better line of sight and we’ve got to put more surveillance cameras in old schools than in new schools, says Blanton.
State Senator Bill Montford represents all of the School Superintendents. He says the need for school safety funding is only going to increase. “But I think it’s going to get to be so expensive that we’re going to have to have total comprehensive look at no only what we need but how we will fund it”, says Sen. Montford.
About 5,000 weapons were found in Florida schools in the 2010-11 school year; of those 270 were guns
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