St. Johns County needs 25 more deputies to put one at every school

District says added deputies would cost $1.14M for next school year

By Elizabeth Campbell - Reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - St. Johns County is 25 deputies short of having one at every school in the district -- a demand the county must meet after new legislation passed in Florida following the Parkland school massacre.

Gov. Rick Scott signed the new law, which requires -- among other things -- that every district in the state have an armed officer at every single school during school hours.

The law was prompted by a mass shooting Feb. 14 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that left 17 students and staff members dead.

To meet the new state standard, St. Johns County says, the district needs another 25 school resource officers.

The St. Johns County School District currently has 15 resource officers for the following schools:

  1. St. Augustine High School 
  2. Allen D. Nease High School 
  3. Bartram Trail High School 
  4. Pedro Menendez High School 
  5. Creekside High School 
  6. Ponte Vedra High School 
  7. Murray Middle School 
  8. Sebastian Middle School
  9. St. Johns Technical High School/FCTC
  10. Gaines/Transitions
  11. Gamble Rogers Middle School
  12. Additional support for non-contracted schools
  13. Additional support for non-contracted schools
  14. Additional support for non-contracted schools
  15. Additional support for non-contracted schools

In the most recent year-to-date contract between the St. Johns County School Board and the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office, one officer costs about $45,734, which is a total of $686,010 for all 15 deputies.

RELATED: Flagler County to double number of school resource officers

The board agreed to 50 percent of the cost of the 15 school resource officers, meaning this current school year it and the Sheriff’s Office are paying about $343,005 each for the 15 deputies. 

Under the current contract, the additional 25 deputies needed for the 2018-19 school year would cost the district another $1,143,350. 

Many school districts have said that despite a nearly $100 million increase in state funding, there may not be enough money to post an armed school resource officer at every school

Each district is working with its partnering Sheriff’s Office to come up with a plan. 

In St. Johns County, Sheriff's Office spokesman Chuck Mulligan said funding doesn’t cover the mandate to provide an officer at every school and that the Sheriff’s Office is not budgeted for that. 

Mulligan said a committee has been designated specifically to look at what the school district wants to do and figure out the best plan. 

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