Superintendents tell Florida lawmakers about school security issues

The Florida Senate Education Committee had last week three county school superintendents to discuss school security and suggest ways to make schools safer.

Florida spends annually about $64 million on a “Safe Schools” program. Escambia County has received a little less than $1.7 million annually for the past three school years:

2010-11: $1,164,266
2011-12: $1,168,309
2012-13: $1,166,765

The association of school boards has suggested as much as an additional $100 million is needed statewide to make public school campuses more secure.

The superintendents -Joseph Joyner/ St. Johns County,Robert Pearce/Wakulla County and Jackie Pons/Leon County- pointed out most classrooms in schools that were built 20 years ago have outside doors with direct access for the public. The schools also have exposed walkways and open lobby areas.

The website Florida Current reported:

The current state budget contains no money for public education construction projects. In 2011, money for public schools’ capital projects was transferred to charter schools. If lawmakers make money available this year to harden security on school campuses then the superintendents urged lawmakers to allow local school districts to spend it on projects they, the school districts, think is necessary.