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Thursday, August 23, 2018

The Florida legislature refuses to fund school safety

When you head to the polls this November I hope you remember that the Republican lead Florida legislature had opportunity after opportunity to properly fund school safety and refused at every turn.

In my home town of Jacksonville they sent 3.6 million dollars to do a job that would cost over ten and they compounded this farce by allocating only an extra 47 cents per student in discretionary spending.

When Rick Scott in an admittedly self serving move, meant, I am sure to generate publicity more than to protect kids, asked the state legislature to release unused funds, the republican leaders in Tallahassee said no.

From the Tampa Times:

Florida’s top incoming legislative leaders are rejecting Gov. Rick Scott’s push to redirect $58 million so school districts can hire more campus police officers. The lawmakers say the state should stay with a program they crafted that puts armed security guards and staff members in its public schools.
House Speaker-elect Jose Oliva and incoming Senate President-elect Bill Galvano, both Republicans, said Wednesday the money should remain budgeted for the state’s guardian program. The Republican governor, who leaves office in January and is running for the U.S. Senate, wants the unspent money freed so the districts can hire more officers.
An Associated Press survey found two-thirds of the districts want police officers or sheriff’s deputies in schools, with most saying their communities aren’t comfortable with anyone but sworn law enforcement officers carrying guns on campus.
The state’s 67 countywide districts were given the more expensive choice of hiring additional police officers, also known as school resource officers, or supplementing the officers they already had with the cheaper guardian program. Any money not covered by the state had to be picked up by the districts.
Some districts, however, said they can’t afford officers and are hiring full-time guardians. These include Broward, Stoneman Douglas’ district. A police officer can cost $100,000 a year in salary and benefits, while guardians are estimated to cost between $30,000 and $50,000. Some districts, mostly in rural parts of the state, are supplementing officers with armed staff who get a $500 stipend, saying their communities support that arrangement.
That's what the republicans' in Tallahassee wanted, armed school personnel, specifically teachers, and when that was overwhelmingly rejected, they said, we'll show you and only play lip service to protecting our children. Like petulant children who weren't allowed to run wild, they took their ball and went home, except in this case the ball is tax payer money and it should be being used to protect our children. Though I guess we should be thankful they didn't channel the left over funds to charter schools.
The republican party has done all it can do damage public education and the teaching profession and the people of Florida collectively shrugged their shoulders, hopefully now that they have shown they don't really care about the state's children, people will be motivated to vote them out.
We need a change in Tallahassee and the reason this time may literally be about life and death. 

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