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Lawmakers Ignore Governor’s Request to Reallocate School Safety Funds

September 14th, 2018 by Jake Stofan
A special commission of state lawmakers is ignoring the Governor’s calls to redirect unused funds for arming school staff to other school safety needs.
When Governor Rick Scott signed the school safety legislation passed in the wake of the Parkland shooting it included $67 million for training and arming school staff excluding teachers, but he did so with an expectation.
“I want to work with them [the Legislature] to move those dollars over for more law enforcement,” said Scott.
Scott made his initial request for the Legislature to free up $58 million in unused guardian program funds for other school safety needs in late August.
Last Friday Scott got his response in a letter from incoming Senate President Bill Galvano.
It was a hard no.
Galvano said the program needed time to grow.
The Governor had hoped the Joint Legislative Budget Commission would redirect the funds in their meeting Friday morning.
Democrats on the commission who had spoken in support of the Governor’s position joined by phone but sat silent.
The topic never even came up.
Afterwards the incoming Senate President defended his decision to keep the funds in place.
“We’re going to continue to keep monitoring it,” said Galvano. “We can revisit later and it may be that we come back at some point and say, okay here’s where we are with these funds. Now we have X left, let’s look at school hardening for example.”
The Florida School Boards Association told us in August that it supported redirecting the guardian program funds.
It says it’s now neutral on the issue saying there is no consensus among individual districts.
The State Board of Education decided this morning to ask for more funding for the Guardian Program in its 2019 budget request.

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