Duval County School Board approves security funds, more SROs

$133K left from renovations to be added to $1.4M project already funded

By Elizabeth Campbell - Reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The Duval County School Board approved $132,913 at its Tuesday night meeting for additional security measures for public schools in Jacksonville.

The school safety resolution, which was amended to include funding for resource officers and mental health counselors in each school, was also passed.

READ: School safety resolution passed by Duval County School Board

At a board workshop last month, members recommended allocating nearly $133,000 in additional funds to $1.4 million already allocated for security systems, cameras and access control systems at schools across the district.

The additional funding comes from funds remaining after renovations to Robert E. Lee High School in 2013.

Ahead of Tuesday evening's meeting, board member Becki Couch said those security improvements are already underway. She said the board welcomes additional school safety proposals proposed by Gov. Rick Scott in a sweeping $500 million bill making its way through the Florida Legislature and were expected to pass a resolution asking area lawmakers to support the state's plan to place a school resource officers in every public school. 

However, Couch is not in favor of a provision in the package that would enable school employees to be deputized to carry guns on campus.

"I am not in favor of arming teachers because I think teachers already have a job. I think our lunch ladies already have a job. Our maintenance workers already have a job, and our custodians," Couch said. "To ask them to do this on a voluntary basis when we can use the funding to have someone who that is their job, that is what their responsibility is, and they’re fully trained for that."

In the school safety resolution that was passed, the School Board added the following comments:

"The School Board does not support deputizing or otherwise arming school personnel or reserve law enforcement officers within a school to respond to school emergencies; instead the School Board believes appropriate responders to school emergencies should be FDLE credentialed, sworn, full-time law enforcement personnel employed by FDLE-accredited local police, sheriff, or school district law enforcement agencies; 

The School Board supports the appropriation of additional general revenue and capital revenue for safe schools so long as any such additional funding is not diverted or re-appropriated from other public school revenue sources."

Copyright 2018 by WJXT News4Jax - All rights reserved.