Hillsborough school leaders tackling school safety changes amid budget crisis

District to start 2018-19 year in $16.1M deficit

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. -- Hillsborough County School leaders are discussing several new school safety changes Thursday, as a result of the new Marjory Stoneman Douglas School Safety Act.

Some of the changes include adding more than a hundred required new school resource offices that would put one in every school.

Starting next year, there will also be a Student Watch Program, where students are able to report potential red flags.

The school district also needs to add a new school safety specialist to oversee all of these changes as a result of the new law.

There will also be massive upgrades to mental services in schools across Florida.

Wednesday, school leaders will be discussing hiring more staff to help do individual assessments of at-risk students and getting them access to therapy. As a result of the changes, the district says more students will be able to receive counseling.

Educators will also receive more training on how to spot potential warning signs in at-risk students.

But one of the biggest concerns for Hillsborough County Schools and many other schools across Florida is how to pay for all of these new changes. The state is giving Florida school some funding, but the superintendent says it's not enough.

In an email to parents and staff, Eakins said the district is already starting the 2018-2019 with a $16.1M budget deficit. Some of that is because of the new school safety changes being required, like the hiring of new school resource officers.

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