Scott-O-Meter

Increase school security spending

"Gov. Scott will propose to increase school security by $10 million to over $74 million."


Updates

Education bills were hot topics during the 2017 Florida legislative session. (Miami Herald)
Education bills were hot topics during the 2017 Florida legislative session. (Miami Herald)

Gov. Rick Scott's effort to increase school security money falls short

Gov. Rick Scott had a victory on the education front when the final budget included an increase in state spending by $100 per student next fall.

However, one of his promises related to school spending fell by the wayside: an increase in spending on school security.

Specifically, Scott promised during his 2014 reelection campaign "to increase school security by $10 million to over $74 million."

Scott was referring to the Safe Schools Allocation, an annual fund allocated to public school districts to spend on programs related to safety. The money can be spent on a variety of programs and personnel including school resource officers and programs to correct behavior and bullying prevention.

Each school district gets $250,000, and the remainder is allocated based on a formula that takes into account crime statistics and student enrollment.

The Safe Schools Allocation has existed for more than a decade. The total pot remained at $75 million for several years until it dropped during the economic downturn, which started under Scott's predecessor, Gov. Charlie Crist.

In the 2010-11 fiscal year (over which Scott did not have control), the total was about $67 million. In Scott's first budget, it dropped to $64.5 million for 2011-12. It stayed at that level for the next few years.

SB 2500 provided the same amount of $64.5 million for the 2017-18 school year. Scott signed the bill June 2.

(Unrelated to his promise, Scott did sign a bill that provided money for the first time for security at private Jewish schools.)

Scott has one more session next year to achieve this promise related to public schools, but so far he has struck out. We rate this Promise Broken.

Sources:

Senate Bill 2500, Signed by Gov. Rick Scott June 2, 2017

Miami Herald, "$650,000 in Florida budget for security at Jewish schools raises questions," May 11, 2017

Interview, Meghan Collins, Florida Department of Education spokeswoman, May 30, 2017

Rick Scott proposes increase in school securing funding

As part of a package of promises to increase education spending, during the 2014 campaign Gov. Rick Scott promised "to increase school security by $10 million to over $74 million." His budget for the upcoming legislative session takes a step toward that goal.

In his 2015-16 budget proposal, Scott recommended an increase of $14.25 million -- for a total of about $78.7 million -- for the Safe Schools Allocation, a fund for public safety. School districts can spend the money in a variety of ways, including for after-school programs for middle school students; programs to correct behavior; suicide and bullying prevention; school resource officers and detection dogs. Each school district gets $250,000, and the remainder is allocated based on a formula that takes into account crime statistics and student enrollment. (For example in 2014-15, Miami-Dade County received about $10 million and Hillsborough County received $3 million.)

The Safe Schools Allocation has existed for more than a decade. The total pot remained at $75 million for several years until it dropped during the economic downturn, which started under Scott's predecessor Gov. Charlie Crist. In 2010-11 when Scott started, the total pot was about $67 million. In Scott's first budget, it dropped to $64.5 million for 2011-12 and then stayed at that level for the next few years.

Scott is on track to achieve his promise of increasing school security by $10 million if the Legislature goes along with his plan when it convenes March 3. It's worth noting that much of his proposed funding increase follows years of cuts and then stagnant funding. For now, we rate this promise In The Works.

Sources:

Florida Gov. Rick Scott, 2015-16 budget proposal, January 2015

Florida Department of Education, 2014-15 Safe Schools funding HB 5001, 2014

Florida Department of Education Safe Schools funding, 2010-11, 2011-12, 2012-13, 2013-14, 2014-15

Interview, Jeri Bustamante, Gov. Rick Scott spokeswoman, Feb. 2, 2015

Interview, Cheryl Etters, Florida Department of Education spokeswoman, Feb. 2, 2015