Florida Senate Bill 514 would allow counties to create independent districts that impose taxes to pay for school safety and mental health services. The bill was proposed in response to the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
Although Alachua County Sheriff’s Office has provided temporary funding for resource officers to be on elementary school campuses at all times, those expenses are not in the school board’s or sheriff’s budgets long term.
According to the Gainesville Police Department, one officer costs about $64,000 per year. According to the sheriff’s office, a deputy costs about $155,000 per year.
SB 514 would authorize a local, optional tax for districts that prefer this approach.