Today, a bipartisan group of Members of the Florida House came together to urge Senate President Joe Negron and House Speaker Richard Corcoran for an increase in funding for Safe Schools and mental health services. The letter also asks the Legislative Leadership for better allocation of funding and additional resources for school safety in order to improve protection measures.
The House Members specifically requested Speaker Corcoran to match the Senate's proposed funding amounts for Safe Schools and mental health services. Currently, the Senate has proposed that the Safe Schools allocation be increased by $14 million while in the House there is no money being recommended within the current budget. In addition, the Senate has proposed $40 million to be allocated toward mental health, while the House has proposed zero funding.
As part of the joint letter, the Representatives petitioned the Speaker and President to study the allocation of Safe Schools funding and consider changing it based on the quantity of students in a school as well as the number of dangerous incidents occurring on a school campus.
Furthermore, the bipartisan group is requesting additional funding for school safety related protection measures, such as technology, to provide improved real-time communication between the teachers in the classroom, school administrators, and school resource officers.
"I am encouraged that 17 of my colleagues (and still counting) have put party politics aside, and made it clear that we need to start somewhere. We have delivered a letter to the Speaker asking him to work with the Senate to increase funding for "Safe Schools" allocation, to add mental health counselors in every school, and to explore adding active shooter training for every school. I will make sure to update you as we move through the process," affirmed Rep. Rene Plasencia.
The House Members bipartisan letter was signed by Rene Plasencia, Representative Mike Miller, Representative Jay Fant, Representative Heather Fitzenhagen, Representative Kathleen Peters, Representative Gayle Harrell, Representative Bob Cortes, Representative Ross Spano, Democratic Leader Janet Cruz, Leader Pro-Tempore Bobby DuBose, Leader Designate Kionne McGhee, Representative Shevrin Jones, Representative Nick Duran, Representative Sean Shaw, Representative Katie Edwards-Walpole, Representative Amy Mercado, and Representative Richard Stark.