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Charters Asking for Districts to Fund Security Guards

March 26th, 2018 by Jake Stofan

When the Parkland Shooting occurred about 2,000 Florida schools were lacking a school resource officer.

The state allocated $97.5 million to hire more security, but now Charter USA, one of the state’s largest charter school operators is asking districts to pay for their security as well.

The request for armed resource officers was made to the 13 school districts where the company’s schools are located.

Rock Hanna, Superintendent for Leon County Schools rejected Charter USA’s request.

“It’s incumbent upon them to make their budgets work, just like we do,” said Hanna.

He says his district is struggling as it is to make sure its traditional public schools meet the one resource officer per-school required by law.

“We’re looking at having to come out of the general fund up to a million dollars to meet this mandate,” said Hanna.

The Florida School Boards Association says it’s the same around the state.

“Those extra dollars just don’t exist. So how they are going to get to that point is really the challenge that school districts and charter agencies are having to face,” said FSBA Executive Director Andrea Messina.

The state funding is expected to cover 647 new officers.

That still leaves more than 300 schools without.

Charter USA says the school safety legislation specifically allows public charter school students the same protections available to district public school students.

Governor Rick Scott says there is funding included for charters in the new law.

“You know charter schools are public schools. All schools are covered by that bill,” said Scott.

The funding for increased school safety don’t become available until this summer, Charter USA requested the money from districts by April 1st.

Some of the 13 school districts have yet to respond, but most if not all are expected to reject Charter USA’s request.

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