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Politics

Gus Bilirakis Fights for Funds for School Safety

July 30, 2018 - 6:00am
Gus Bilirakis
Gus Bilirakis

U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Fla., brought out a bill last week to help boost security at schools around the nation. 

Bilirakis unveiled the “Promoting Resource Officers Together for Exceptionally Critical Targets with Key Investments in Districts and Schools Act"(PROTECT KIDS Act) on Wednesday and showcased in on Thursday.   

The bill would hire more Student Resource Officers (SROs) in schools by setting aside $225 million from the federal government that the U.S. Department of Justice will use in a matching grant program over five years. The funds would be used to match funds from local school districts and municipalities to hire SROs.  The bill requires the Justice Department prioritize larger school districts with 65,000 students or more. Under the proposal, districts can apply for up to$10 million with a limit of $20,000 for each school. 

Bilirakis weighed in on Thursday as to why he had introduced the bill. 

“After the Parkland tragedy, I reached out to local superintendents, school board members and sheriffs in my district asking how the federal government can support them in their mission to keep kids safe in school,” Bilirakis said. They told me that the single most important factor in improving safety is the hiring of well-trained School Resource Officers.”  

Bilirakis insisted that the Sunshine State would benefit from his proposal. 

“Sadly, the school districts in the 12th Congressional District and throughout the state of Florida do not have sufficient resources to provide a certified School Resource Officer on every campus,” he said. “Many of these districts are among the largest school systems in the country. While we successfully increased federal grant funding in our last budget bill for the purpose of hiring school resource officers, I knew more support was needed. The PROTECT KIDS Act will help assure parents that their children have a safe and secure learning environment.”

So far, Bilirakis has not rounded up any cosponsors nor is there a sponsor over in the U.S. Senate.  The bill was sent to the U.S. House Education and the Workforce and the Judiciary Committees on Wednesday. 

Comments

It may be a good idea to funnel some Fed tax $$ to the schools around the country but here in Florida, Broward County specifically is asking voters to approve more property tax money to go to schools for safety and security. I hope this local bill does not pass. So far, Broward school district has not proven competent handling the money they are already given. I don't think it is a good move to throw good money after bad given their track record, even if the Parkland shooting is in Broward County. We have to stop throwing money away based on emotion. We need to see plans for spending on security before giving the school board more funds to squander or worse, dither around not knowing what to do with it. A number of years ago, a multimillion dollar school bond was passed. That money is still unused after many years because of the ineptitude of Broward County in general (Sheriff Israel is STILL in office!) and our School Board. It is sad but we need new blood at the local level all over this country.

ANOTHER "acronym"?!?!?.... Just what is it with these "Congressional fakers" with their juvenile "rap" "acronyms" on EVERY issue that comes across their desks that is "greased" with current "media ink".... (especially in "election seasons") ?!?!?!

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