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I-Team: Legislators rejected additional school safety money for years

Posted at 6:34 PM, Feb 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-19 18:34:06-05

Parents are stunned by the numbers the I-Team found: numbers regarding how much school security money is given out to school districts across the state.

Year after year since the 2010-2011 school year, the state has given the same amount of money to school districts to improve school security ($64,456,019 a year).    

Shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary (2012), Pulse nightclub in Orlando, and other mass shootings over recent years never moved the needle.

"I can't understand why there would be any kind of delay in any funding that would protect our young lives" says Jeffrey Keith, a concerned Tampa father.

It's a program under the state's department of education called Safe Schools.

The program distributes money to every school district for safety and security expenses.

According to DOE documents, locally most school districts use the money to help pay for school resource officers or deputies.

And here's another interesting find, 10 years ago the program received about 10 million dollars more than it does today.
"There needs to be more measures on how to react to this" says Zannette Laird, a Tampa mother.

Keith adds, "There should not be a price put on the safety of our kids."

According to the Department of Education, for the last seven years, Governor Rick Scott has proposed increases for as much as $10 million a year.

But the legislature never granted it.  So year after year, shooting after shooting, the money stayed the same.

The governor's spokesperson Lauren Schenone tells us, "For the last seven years, governor Scott has consistently proposed increases in the safe schools fund. School safety is of critical importance and will be a topic of discussion at the meetings he announced this week in Tallahassee."  
The Department of Education refused to let us speak with the Safe Schools Program Director.
We're told Florida's house speaker will be discussing "significant investments" in funding better school security as early as Tuesday.